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NBC's Hannibal - A Delicious Watch

If you've got a stomach for a thriller unlike any other, NBC's Hannibal is made with the perfect recipe. Ingredients include blood, flesh, more blood and more flesh. 
The show is a prequel of Thomas Harris' novels Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs and brings alive the legendary character Dr. Hannibal Lector. The Danish actor with a well-chiselled face and cold expressions Mads Mikkelsen plays the role with brilliant perfection. Chasing him is the FBI Criminal Profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). We saw the pair earlier in the 2004 historical drama King Arthur. Regardless to say, in Hannibal they share a chemistry dangerous enough to give you the chills.  

Will Graham
Graham is assigned to hunt down the Chesapeake Ripper under the guidance of his boss Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne). At the crime scene, Graham's unique ability to visualize himself as the killer helps him draw out insights on how the murder takes place as he paints a profile of the killer on the canvas of his mind. Acknowledging the fact that analysing these crime scenes is shaking Graham's psyche, Crawford brings on task a prolific forensic psychiatrist to analyse Will's mind. Enter Dr. Lector. He, unbeknownst to the FBI, is the elusive serial killer and cannibal. Will's suspicion of this commences a gripping game of cat and mouse. 

Dr. Hannibal Lector in his kitchen
Throughout the show, with an operatic background, when Hannibal is not seen counselling Graham in his study, he is shown masterfully and most calmly preparing the most artful of dishes with meat. Human flesh rather. He refers to some of his treasured recipe collection and a box holding his victims' business cards and combines the both to make one delicious complicated dish. Sample this - a Roast Veal with Spinach and Mushroom, except that the veal is not veal and instead a juicy piece of human flesh - leg, lung and liver, Lector eats it all.  

The makers of the show are audacious in how graphic their scenes are. Lector's victims are dramatically displayed at crime scenes, one more shocking than the other. Picture a stitched up human totem-pole. You will squirm and you will almost want to wish you are not watching what's coming next. Such is Lector's 'design' and 'work'. Dexter will seem like an amateur serial killer in front of this seemingly normal but one very messed up being - Hannibal Lector. 

Scenes showing Lector in the act of killing are scanty, rather, there are abundant scenes showing him devouring his victim in a dish of Liver and Loin Bourguignonne. And our scary psychiatrist fancies not only a gourmet meal, but equally enjoys hosting his colleagues from the FBI who enjoy his cooking and the dish served before them. And he makes it clear "Nothing on this table is vegetarian." We know what they are eating, they (probably) don't. Special mention to the food stylist and consultants of the show - Chef Jose Andres and stylist Janice Poon. 62 year old Poon's work on the sets became so popular, she began blogging about the behind-the-scenes work that went into making mortadella look like lung. 

See what I mean about the colours?
Characters wear dark colours, interiors are dull and we see a generous use of white, black, dull blues and greys in all scenes. The only contrasting colour is but of course red. There is always a speck of blood red; Hannibal's curtains in his study are red and grey, FBI's Dr. Alana Bloom wears red dresses or then the scene has a splatter of blood. Seamlessly stitching together the show is its soundtrack - perhaps the main protagonist for me. As if the story and its characters are not chilling enough, we have music composer Brian Reitzell's chords creating cacophony in the viewer's mind, pushing them to the very edge of their seat with sheer thrill and discomfort. You don't only want to shut your eyes because the scene is unbearably gory, you also want to shut your ears because well, so is the music. Care to listen? 

Simply put, if you dare, watch the show. And just in case you're feeling hungry reading this blog, check this out. 


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