Hannibal Essay, Research Paper
Hannibal, released in 2001, is part three of the Hannibal Lecter trilogy. Edited by Pietro Scalia and directed by Ridley Scott, also known for ground-breaking films such as Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator, Hannibal stars Anthony Hopkins as the criminally-insane Dr. Lecter. The movie also stars Julianne Moore as FBI agent Clarice Starling, Ray Liotta as Justice Dept. official Paul Krendler, Giancarlo Giannini as Italian cop Rinaldo Pazzi, and Gary Oldman as Mason Verger, to name a few. It was written for the screen by David Mamet and Academy Award winner Steven Zaillian. The films cinematographer is John Mathieson, who also worked on Gladiator with Scott.
Hannibal, believed to be the sequel to Silence of the Lambs, is actually the third movie containing Dr. Lecter. The earliest of the trilogy was Manhunter in 1986 where Dr. Lecter was introduced as a peripheral character followed by Silence of the Lambs in 1991. Hannibal begins after Dr. Hannibal Lecter escaped from the asylum in Baltimore at the end of Silence of the Lambs. The demented doctor is now in Florence, Italy where he has become one of the curators of the Palazzo Vecchio and has learned to stop eating human flesh all the time. His cover is broken when cop Rinaldo Pazzi will turn Dr. Lecter over, for money, to his old patient, Mason Verger. Mason is a person more twisted and evil than the doctor, because Dr. Lecter made him cut his own face off with a piece of glass and feed it to his dogs. It also caused him to be paralyzed and on a respirator, which furthered his anger even more. FBI agent Clarice Starling uncovers Mason’s evil plot to feed Dr. Lecter to a bunch of man-eating hogs and will do anything to make sure that Mason does not succeed. A sympathetic Dr. Lecter saves agent Starling, reciprocating the favor agent Starling was to bestow upon him after finding him bound and ready to be eaten. The movie ends with Dr. Lecter eluding authorities again, but only after feeding self-centered agent Paul Krendler the agent s own brain.
The cinematographer, John Mathieson, did a fantastic job shooting this film in light of the problems he faced relating to small spaces and bad natural lighting. The film was shot primarily on location, with the exception of two sequences, in Florence, Itlay and Virginia. Hannibal has a much more modern feel with some chaotic sequences versus the decade-old style of Silence of the Lambs. The film has a lot of dull locations, such as little rooms with people tapping away on computers or on telephones; it s a little more fidgety. There were also a lot of long tracking shots. Hannibal is essentially a character-driven film, and its intense psychological mood had to be created through lighting. The Virginia shots had contrast to create a dirtier, more miserable look; this was done to create mood. The flashback sequence to Verger s last session with Hannibal is a tribute to film-making technique s progress.
The editing of the film, done by Pietro Scalia, was also a success in creating an intense, scary, and suspenseful film. The editing was quite different than Silence of the Lambs, not only because of a different editor but also because of a whole different team; the film had to be a stand-alone project. An example of the chaotic sequences is the shootout scene at the fishmarket; there was a lot of footage that had to be cut together properly. The superior editing was a compliment to the great script, well developed characters, and various themes floating around the movie.
One of the themes was judgment. The audience has a relationship with Hannibal that was created by the previous film, and it is a relationship of attraction to him. He fascinates us because he has taste, he is cultured. He only eats the rude, he punishes the ones that deserve to be punished. But at the same time, he is a monster. So the audience probably identifies with Clarice. In the sense of what the story is about, you can put yourself in Clarice’s place. It’s a question of judgment. How do you judge a person like Hannibal Lecter, who seems to have an attraction towards you, who likes you, who is the only man really close to you, who can get under your skin, who understands your deep emotions? How do you judge this monster, as opposed to the other antagonist, Verger, who is also a monster and who is also out for revenge?
Hannibal is clearly a psychological thriller. Psychological thrillers are known to promote intense excitement, suspense, a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, anxiety, and nerve-wracking tension. If the genre is to be defined strictly, a genuine thriller is a film that relentlessly pursues a single-minded goal – to provide thrills and keep the audience cliff-hanging at the edge of their seats as the plot builds towards a climax. Hannibal does just that.
Hannibal was very much worth seeing. Hopkins once again breathes menacing life into everyone’s favorite serial killer, playing his role with a darkly comedic touch of glee during Hannibal ’s more sinister moments. The chemistry between the characters of Lecter and Clarice has been captured once again, and even deepened by time. In an uncredited turn as Mason Verger, Gary Oldman is as chilling as ever. The remaining supporting roles are played well, and don t detract from the film’s leads. Hannibal is what one would expect of a Ridley Scott film, beautiful locations, wonderfully lit, and lush deep sounds evoking a scene without overwhelming it. The performances were top notch, the film skillfully made, and unique enough from its predecessor not to be considered a superfluous sequel.