We all have an thought in our head of what Hannibal Lecter is like, and for many of us it is the picture outlined by Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar-winning efficiency in Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs.” Lecter is scholarly, a social animal who enjoys manipulating these he deems beneath him (which is actually each human being). As performed by Hopkins, he is a theatrical determine — somebody who hasn’t had a captive viewers for a very long time earlier than the naïve however plucky Clarice Starling turns up outdoors his cell asking for his assist. As oft-mocked because the efficiency has been, it holds up as a portrait of a brand new sort of serial killer: one in every of aesthetic issues and mental superiority.
In the e book “Hannibal,” which Ridley Scott loosely tailored for movie as a result of it is actually bananas, Lecter is nearly otherworldly by way of his psychological energy. This is one thing that Bryan Fuller’s TV re-imagining would grasp onto, with Mads Mikkelsen admitting he wished to play the character as if he was actually Satan.
By distinction, Brian Cox’s Hannibal is a a lot colder determine. He’s not debonair, he does not overtly relish toying with Will Graham or lean into the mythic nature of his personal standing as “Hannibal the Cannibal.” He’s not Satan. He’s human, unnervingly so. There’s nothing remotely likeable about him, which stands in sharp distinction to the charisma of Hopkins and Mikkelsen, who lean into Hannibal’s seductive nature. This Lecktor is impolite (which might make him excellent fodder for Mikkelsen’s desk). He doesn’t search to be entertained. When he is reunited with Graham whereas behind bars, he appears bored by his presence. By the time he begins antagonizing him, you need him lifeless, and fast. The enjoyable of Hannibal lies in watching him run rings round everybody else, despite the fact that he is undeniably the villain of each scene. Cox, nevertheless, is merciless in a approach that’s usually powerful to look at, as mightily efficient as it’s.
As trendy and inimitably Mann-esque as the remainder of “Manhunter” is, the Hannibal scenes are stark and virtually mundane of their actuality. Nothing there would look misplaced in a true-crime documentary or a David Fincher film. The Tooth Fairy revels in placing on a present; Hannibal Lecktor is over it. Just if you assume he appears sort-of regular, he reminds you that he’s nonetheless probably the most harmful individual in your complete movie, and he does not should strive that tough.
There’s all the time one thing acquainted about Cox’s villains, whether or not it is Logan Roy, Hannibal the Cannibal, or somebody like Colonel William Stryker, the anti-mutant scientist in “X-Men 2.” They’re males rotted by energy but concurrently made immortal by it. He rejects the urge to romanticize, as an alternative favoring the familiarity of the monsters we encounter each single day. To put it bluntly, he is scary as hell. No marvel the Roy youngsters cannot wriggle freed from his grip from past the grave.