Few movie villains have become so iconic their names live in infamy. Darth Vader. Voldemort. And Hannibal Lecter. When Silence of the Lambs hit movie screens in 1991, Lecter was an instant sensation with Anthony Hopkins creeping out people by the millions. The character was actually on film once before Hopkins played him in Michael Mann’s 1986 film Manhunter. In that film Lecter was played by Brian Cox, but it wasn’t until Hopkin’s iconic performance that Lecter became legend. Hopkins’s reprised his role for two more films, Hannibal and Red Dragon, and the characters early years were examined in the film Hannibal Rising. This year sees Lecter reincarnated once again, this time in television form for the new series Hannibal, and this time portrayed by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.
Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is a FBI special investigator working for Special Agent in Charge Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) of the Behavioral Sciences division. Graham has a unique ability to put himself into the mindset of a killer by examining the crime scenes. But his talent also takes a toll on his psyche and his sanity as he tries to move forward and stop evil. To try and cope with his issues, Graham starts seeing a forensic psychiatrist named Hannibal Lecter (Mikkelsen). Lecter and Graham form a strong bond but unfortunately, Lecter also happens to be a very prolific serial killer himself. With Graham’s sanity on the line, he must not only attempt to stop a series of killers, but survive his friendship with someone who may become his greatest enemy.
Hannibal is dramatic television at its very best. The show has very high production values with each episode truly looking cinematic in visuals, story and scope. Dancy is phenomenal as Graham, portraying the tortured soul with real heart and a heavy heart. Fishburne is fantastic as well in the role of Crawford, a well-meaning but gruelling boss to Graham who hasn’t seem to have found a line he won’t cross to get a killer. But the real draw to the show had to be the person stepping into Anthony Hopkins very big shoes. Mads Mikkelsen is a highly respected actor, but could he portray the most famous filmic serial killer aptly? The answer is a resounding yes. Granted, Mikkelsen’s take on Lecter is very different from Hopkins, less dramatic, more rooted in reality, but equally terrifying. He plays Lecter as a calculating monster whose every move is planned a dozen moves before, who plays everyone he comes in contact with to serve his own means. And he does it while winning everyone over as he is doing it. He inhabits the same core as the theatrical Lector with a slightly different shell. Hannibal is a must see show for thriller, crime or horror fans.
The Blu-ray set from Alliance/eOne is beautiful and haunting. Hannibal is filmed beautifully with much of the action set in very dark places, but the Blu-ray transfer handles it all like a pro. Gorgeous colors, deep blacks, atmospheric sound and razor sharp detail and clarity makes Hannibal easily compete with the Blu-ray winners from the likes of HBO, FX and AMC. Highly recommended.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.