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HANNIBAL   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Monday, 05 July 2004
Welcome back, Dr. Lecter. We missed you.

This isn't a review. It's a ramble. Strap yourself in.. for the moral implications of Hannibal.

Firstly, the opening credit sequence apparently reveals the pattern of pigeons to show Hannibals face, which therefore could be seen as a metaphor for Hannibal as the kind of almost banal, charming evil that is everyone, as well as showing a link between Mother Nature and Lecter as predators. This is why the credits are important, as well as to show that everyone everywhere is being watched, all the time, by CCTV, and that these are his downfall... it was as if Hannibal knew by going to that one place, he would be discovered. He chose instead to reveal himself to those who may have chosen to look. Hiding in Plain Sight of sorts.

I do not see the film as Clarice's fall from grace, but more a tale of Hannibals quest for redemption. He returns to the US, even though he knows he is still one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted, and that he is almost definitely going to place himself in danger by contacting Clarice, yet does so, in order to clear her name from the smudging she has recieved at the hands of the corrupt FBI.

Hannibal made the suggestion to Cordell I believe for two reasons

i)) for Cordell to be freed of the master-servant relationship to such a hideously disfigured spiritually/mentally person who was corrupting his servant. Remember that Cordell wanted not to be present? This is why he is spared. and

ii) so that Verger can understand that killing for revenge is self defeating as it solves nothing, but also so that he is put out of his misery : remember that Verger himself commited the crime (and is alleged to be a paedophile in the film), not Hannibal, and only at Hannibal's insistence, as well as

iii) self-defence. Hannibal is aware of virtue, and respects it, as well as of his own image, why is why he informs Cordell to tell others that "Hannibal did it". Even then, when he comes back to the US, to possibly make peace. He accepts that since he has been discovered, he can no longer enjoy the benefit of anonymity and therefore wishes to return to obtain closure with Verger and also to clear Clarice.

What you will notice is that he seems - in some respects - to be motivated by purer things. In this respect, therefore, those that he despatches in the cruellest of fashions - not naming any names - all seem to be characters motivated by money to bring about Hannibal's downfall or incaraceration. Those that recieved the harshest treatment - hmm, tastes good - are those that are truly corrupt and seek to discredit the virtious (Clarice) in return for financial reward.

This is clearly indicated by the fact that when Hannibals visits that persons home he removes a vital piece of paper revealing such information. The fact that he can subdue the dog, and that his eyes are red tinted in the poster, could also indicate that he is the personification of the Devil. Charming, articulate, ruthless, and unpredictable. One who mixes the truth with lies in such a fashion as that the truth can no longer be discovered.

Clarice is spared because she herself is working for the good and is morally pure. She is not attempting to bring about Hannibal's downfall for monetary reasons. The fact that Clarice tries to resist and recapture him shows his admiration for her. She cannot be corrupted. And so, in the final act, in order to preserve himself, he has to disfigure himself, instead of corrupting the purity of Clarice. And there's my reading why the film is better than the book.

Because Hannibal returns to redeem himself, claim what is owed to him, and to defend the honour of the pure, as well as to remove and desecrate those who are motivated by avarice and greed instead of beauty and purity.


"Cannibal Seeks Prey. Must like long riverside walks and being eaten. GSOH essential.Apply to..."

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