Hannibal – Eat The Rudecast

We're joined by frequent guest and friend of the show Kate Kulzick, contributor to The AV Club and PopOptiq, and host of our favorite Hannibal podcast This is Our Design and wide ranging TV podcast The Televerse to discuss Ridley Scott's 2001 film Hannibal, the final film in the Anthony Hopkins Lecter trilogy. We all agree that the film is severely flawed, but quite brilliant and beautiful at times. We also get to compare the Florence section of Hannibal Season 3 with the Pazzi storyline in this film.

All on this episode of Eat The Rudecast, a podcast about The TV series Hannibal, and the works of Thomas Harris.

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  • FictionIsntReal
    October 7, 2015 9:02 pm

    Kate’s point about pointlessless is why I rate this even below Brett Ratner’s Red Dragon. There’s only so much even a talented director can do with weak material (see Nathan Glazer’s “Birth”, which I’d say is a well-made film that isn’t very good).

    I haven’t read the book, but it didn’t make sense to me watching the film that Clarice would take the blame for that shootout. The institutional incentive of the FBI would be to cover their ass & blame anyone but their own, and in this case they’d be correct about local cops screwing it up.

    The mask was property of the hospital, not Hannibal. He can’t “give” it to anyone, including Barney.

    I thought Barney survived because he wasn’t in Memphis. Unless Hannibal hunted down BSHCI staff other than Chilton, which I wasn’t aware of.

    Fuller had Will commit murder-suicide rather than run off to Argentina. I guess he could do that in season 4 and I will curse him as I curse Thomas Harris.

    In Red Dragon Hannibal is implied to be rather reckless, not some undetectable master criminal. He’s dropping a lot of bodies in a short amount of time, so Will is still investigating his sixth victim while he’s dropped several more, and Hannibal wastes time gutting him rather than having a bug-out bag at the ready to disappear. He’s also portrayed as a sadist who exhibited cruelty to animals as a child, whereas later Harris seems to have changed his mind in an attempt to rehabilitate the character.

    A Demme closeup is not “breaking the fourth wall”. That’s just a matter of camera focus. Breaking the fourth wall must beyond a breach of the barrier between what’s on screen and reality, acknowledging that it is a film and an audience exists.

    If Kulzick likes Mason’s dinner table (particularly the fantasy he has of a glazed Lecter), she should check out Peter Greenaway’s “The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and Her Lover”. Since she’s into classical, she might like Michael Nyman’s soundtrack, whose most notable track is borrows a bass ground from Henry Purcell’s King Arthur (and is used to choreograph the famous final sequence of the film). Personally, I prefer Nyman’s borrowings from Mozart (as in Drowning by Numbers, from which “The Cook” includes one song), which he once put himself on mock plagiarism trial for.

    I’ve always thought “rudeness” is just an excuse to dignify Hannibal’s murders: he kills for any reason. There’s no mention of the nurse whose tongue he ate being rude, or of the surgical patient the show would name “Jeremy Olmstead”, or Will’s family whom he sends Dolarhyde after, or Pazzi’s wife whom he threatens to eat.

    Six fingers seems rare enough. One in 1339 caucasian births have ulnar polydactyly, one in 3000 of all live births have radial polydactyly, and Hannibal’s central polydactyly is rarest of all. I’d be surprised if that evidence wouldn’t be allowed in court. And if Hannibal is willing to surgically alter his appearance, why not his fingerprints? Many criminals have done so.

    In the show Hannibal talks about Pietro della Vigne’s appearance in Dante’s Inferno after he was accused of betraying the emperor. But Dante put him in the ring of suicides rather than traitors, presumably because (like many scholars today) he believed the charges to be false (Dante has him blaming “the harlot”, perhaps a personification of envy). Pietro also did not die by hanging (like Judas), but by bashing his brains in against his dungeon’s walls. By the way, don’t bother with Raoul Ruiz’ follow-up to Greenaway/Phillips’ “A TV Dante”, containing cantos 9-14 (including Pietro’s section in 13): it’s lazily made footage with seemingly little connection to the voiceover slapped on top.

    Betrayal is a central element of the Judas story (hence his central location in hell). Pazzi & Lecter’s relationship isn’t comparable, so I don’t think the analogy works. Perhaps he’s betraying his oath to the law, but I doubt his commanding officer or the citizens he’s sworn to protect will cry any tears over Hannibal being nabbed by Mason. Fourth circle of hell for Pazzi.

    I’m too firmly in the tank for Nyman to apply the same superlative to Vide Cor Meum, but it is a very good piece of music of which I can say nothing bad. I almost think the movie doesn’t deserve it.

    There probably were people craving that between Hannibal & Clarice. As much as I would prefer to imagine they don’t exist, there are Hannibal shippers who imagine him as their Draco in leather pants.

    Comparing the movie & show’s Italy arc: I dislike Hannibal’s “okie dokie” affectations, but the show has Pazzi picking up The Idiot Ball in a more out-of-left-field manner. I also really disliked the handling of Jack & Bedelia, but they weren’t in the movie (most fortunately of all, neither was Chiyoh).

    Hannibal waving to a crowd after publicly executing Pazzi wasn’t the best of moves, but he was going to abscond once he heard Mason was onto him regardless. That’s nowhere near as egregious as Hannibal just hanging around the catacombs of one of his crime scenes while police are investigating it. I talked about him being implied to be somewhat reckless in Red Dragon, but this is another category of stupid.

    Jack thrashing Hannibal was enjoyable fanservice, but letting Hannibal escape because he needs Will to get him more than negates anything good about the Italy arc all by itself. That’s how much I hate it.

    I think my least favorite Krendler moment is the voiceover dialogue between him & Mason in which he’s being dumb just so things can be explained to the audience. Ugh.

    Hannibal being caught & imprisoned is central to his character. How could being uncatchable be his “superpower”?

    Mason was the least interesting antagonist of all the Harris films I’ve seen. He’s already mostly dead, so there’s little impact when he’s all dead. At least the show had Michael Pitt with some good funny times tormenting people. I’m not even going to include Krendler in comparison, because Kate sums up my thoughts on him as non-entity.

    Was your thought that it would be more fitting for Hannibal to kiss the top of Clarice’s head inspired by him appearing to do just that to Miriam Lass on the show? He does something similar with Marissa Schurr’s mother, and with Abigail.

    Was Lecter’s description of Clarice as “incorruptible” taken from the book? Because I don’t think it works very well if she gets thoroughly corrupted.

    I think this is the first sequel Ridley Scott did, despite Alien & Blade Runner* both inspiring sequels of their own. With Prometheus he now seems to be thinking in terms of film franchises, which I find somewhat disheartening.
    *”Soldier” with Kurt Russell, perhaps only a semi-sequel.

    If you don’t want the next episode to be the last (and what a horrible way to go out), why not do the first Thomas Harris novel/film: Black Sunday? Even without having seen Hannibal Rising, I think I can guarantee it’s much better.


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