Why yes, I do actually watch American television!
Since episode one, I have been completely hooked on Hannibal! Following a fantastic season one closer, Hannibal has come back on air even better than before. This season had many plot twist and jaw-dropping moments, leaving the audience wanting more! Here is what I loved most about Hannibal season two!
The obvious attraction of Hannibal for me is the directing. Since season one, the stunning directing and cinematography was what drew me to this fantastic show. The Hannibal directors have more of an artistic eye, creating more innovative, and interesting, camera angles: lots of close ups, lingering shots, and premeditated actions. For me, the visual side of Hannibal tells the story just as well as the screenplay does. It's the type of directing that makes you not want to look away; you're constantly held in a state of suspense with the lingering shots and extremely closeups; it's directing that puts you right there in the room with Hannibal and Will. The cinematography is exquisitely done, making the show about a cannibal beautiful. The Hannibal production crew has created some of the most stimulating visuals on American television right now.
What I found to be extremely captivating with this series was the psychological element. The production team went to great strides to make this show one big massive mind game; the directors played with the minds of the viewers just as much as the characters. You can't trust what you see; you are just as much of a victim of Hannibal Lecter's manipulation as Will Graham is. I have always found this concept of storytelling captivating. In the first season, we were miss lead because we couldn't trust the narrators, Will Graham, point of view because of his apparent mental collapse. This season we are placed in the same playing field as Will. We are being persuaded and deceived by Hannibal's power.
I was also greatly impressed with the screenplays this season. Like the directing, the scripts played a massive part in the psychological element of the show. One thing I didn’t like about season one was the one-off criminal episodes. I didn’t really like that each episode focused on a different crime and murder, while the main plot arc was being thrown in the back; it struck me as just another CSI show with more compelling characters and better directing. Season two has taken a completely different approach. Instead of each week solving a different murder, the episodes now follow the main plot arc between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. Because I love character development, being able to see the relationship between Will and Hannibal evolve was a treat. Although I am sad that this cast of character is gone (what will I do without Will Graham? How will I get my Hugh Dancy fix now? Who is going to feed Will's dogs?!), I think starting season three off with all new characters was the only direction the show could have gone to continue with its excellent streak.
We also got some really amazing dialogue in this season. I’m not normally one to recognize if the dialogue is well written or not, but I found myself really enjoying the flow of words exchanged. When Will and Hannibal were having their opaque conversations, a slue of intellectual words flowed between the two characters brilliantly. It would have been a disappointment if Hannibal Lecter spoke with anything less than a collage level vocabulary. I thought the dialogue was very well done, and performed perfectly from the outstanding cast.Between the great dialogue and fantastic directing, I was left say, "What is going on?!" after every episode, which is a good thing! This season has been a great creative triumph for both the visual and writing departments.
Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen have excelled yet again this season with outstanding performances. Both Dancy and Mikkelsen brought great depth to their characters, and gave, in my opinion, some of the best performances on television this year. Mikkelsen creates a Hannibal that is powerful in the most cunning way: control. What I have always loved about Mikkelsen's portrayal of Hannibal is the constant "poker face" he holds. Never do we see a break in Hannibal's perfectly poised facade; it's the idea of never actually knowing what emotions are going through Hannibal that makes him so chill-worthy. (I enjoy Mikkelsen's controlled portrayal of Hannibal far more than Anthony Hopkins' overly crazed version.) On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is Will Graham who experiences a wide range of emotions. Hugh Dancy gave a stunning performance as this damaged and defeated character. Will goes through an emotional roller coaster throughout this season; things just keep getting worse for him. But when Will turns just as cold and hard as Hannibal is where Dancy really steps up to the plate. He proves to be a perfect companion to Mads' Hannibal, and the two create some of the most memorable moments in the show.
The only thing I didn't like about this show was the over use of violence. Okay, okay, I know you're all sitting there rolling your eyes saying, "Well, it is a show about a psychopathic cannibal. Of course it is going to be violent." Yes, I know that. Obviously, the violence is an important element to the story, it's just not my cup of tea. But honestly, don't you think a dead woman coming out of a horse's uterus is a bit much? Oh, and that whole romance angle had to go as well. I get it, sex sells. But in a show about a cannibal, I think we can let the plot run the show.
Hannibal is a very intelligent, gripping show, that bleeds fantastic characters and is crippled with metaphors. With superb leads and an incredible production, I give Hannibal season two 7 out of 10 stars.
Originally Posted on Actor.Nerd.Fashionista on May 25, 2014
All Awards Coming Soon Directors Notes Essay Favorites Film Film Club Formative Films Inspiration Tuesday London Non British Review Television Theater The Greatest Hits Understanding Cinema Watch Lists Weekly Rewind What I'm (Re)Watching What I'm Watching Year In Review