Can we just talk about how fucking gorgeous Rik Mayall was in this movie??
I’m always ready to talk about this.
Can we just talk about how fucking gorgeous Rik Mayall was in this movie??
I’m always ready to talk about this.
I think Jodie Foster’s dislike of Hannibal the novel and her subsequent refusal to star in the film adaptation stems from a fundamental misreading of The Silence of the Lambs. Which is quite a shame, really, for her and for all those people who love Clarice so much and spew vitriol towards her creator because they don’t understand her as well as they thought they did.
Foster says (in a contemporary documentary) that she sees Dr. Lecter as a surrogate father-figure for Starling. Now, it’s implied in Silence and explicitly explored (at considerable length) in Hannibal that that is exactly what he is not in a veritable sea of such figures within Starling’s POV. This, along with one or two other key points, seems to be where people missed the boat. Starling sees fathers everywhere; not necessarily her father as a person, but men who fit into what she perceives as the role her father played.
She looks at Crawford, Krendler, Brigham (this is why she doesn’t date him), and- less significantly- a few others in this light. Her concept of the father-figure incorporates anyone in moral or actual authority and she subconsciously defers to them even when she knows they are in the wrong. Her journey to self-awareness and freedom from subconscious guilt and reflex obedience culminates in the infamous brain-eating dinner scene. She explains her own neuroses, telling Krendler that she always found a way to blame herself for his abuse, because she carries her father as an idol and holds him too closely, not allowing herself to remember him for who he was as a human being and move on with her life.
(At some point I must think about it more, but Dr. Lecter is everything her father-idol was not, superficially and deeply. Possibly he attracts her for this very reason?)
The drugs Dr Lecter has been giving her are not mind-altering, not personality-transplanting or will-suppressing. We’ve been told their effects already; they reduce inhibitions, break down barriers and give voice to the deep parts of the psyche that the conscious mind keeps hidden. Starling tells Dr. Lecter things she would never have said in a sober state, but everything she tells him is the truth. It’s simply truth she would rather not face. To be a little romantic about the whole thing: yes, he set her free. To us at home this is more than a little terrifying, because Starling’s whole self, no longer a slave to her idol of male authority, has a sense of justice different from ours. Her ideas of right and wrong are visceral and warrior-like, not genteel, but they are hers, her instinctual taboos.
Before she was enslaved to what she thought the fathers of her world wanted, to fit in, to make it, to prove herself. When being good didn’t bring her just rewards her faith in the wisdom of the fathers was shaken. The system as she knew it was no longer working (this is explicit in Hannibal using her orphanage upbringing, etc). When she realized that her being able to “cut it” wasn’t enough, she pays less and less attention to the approval of her fathers and begins to prize justice over advancement in a more direct, unapologetic way than before.
Honestly, she was well on her way to the end of Hannibal half-way through Silence. Personally, I wish more time had been spent on the final stretch; more breathing room allowed, but the ending is sublime. It was one of the most necessary, satisfying and resolved endings to any novel (or series) I have ever read. It could not possibly have ended any other way. Even if it’s not what you wanted to happen, I think it’s what a thematic reading shows needs to happen.
And it’s not about Dr Lecter becoming the hero or taking over as protagonist, because he doesn’t. He’s also not the antagonist (and I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about this: these people are wrong), but he was never the antagonist in any of the books.
If you’re not feeling genuine concern for the good doctor’s well-being towards the climax of Hannibal, I think the book has failed you. He is the kind of monster the reader is so captivated by that they end up sort of rooting for him. One cannot avoid being intrigued by a murderer with an intrinsic chivalry, someone who defies classification. It’s wrong-headed to complain about his being rendered human and therefore less of a villain, because Dr. Lecter never has been a villain.
Really, he’s been fifth business. A catalyst for action greater than his role, a mentor and motivation (occasionally a salvation) for the central heroes and true antagonists. Though he is a more central figure in Hannibal than previously, his is still a relatively passive position in the plot; the object acted upon and not that which is acting. He has taken on more protagonist characteristics, but not in any meaningful way.
Notwithstanding the additions of many significant forces, Clarice remains the real hero (the one whose actions drive the story forward, the one with a clear character arc, whose emotional landscape gives everything its figurative weight) and Mason Verger is the dominant antagonist whose influence allows other negatives power to act (like Krendler). It is Clarice’s internal conflict that must be resolved, she who ‘saves’ all the passive or weaker (thematically, not literally) characters.
Until the final coda, the doctor remains fifth business; rescuing the soprano, but unable to defeat the evil or resolve the plot.
I’ve somehow contrived to go my whole life without discovering that Anthony Hopkins was once in a serious drama/thriller as a ventriloquist with an evil dummy, co-starring Burgess Meredith. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe for this. Somehow.
I don’t know how I missed this when I was last trolling his imdb for new films, but I am going to rectify this grievous oversight.
I could never think of anyone who would be just right when I was dream-casting Dr. Strange, and now I’m surprised I didn’t think of this. He’d be awesome.
Kasi Lemmons as Ardelia Mapp in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS – 1991
I wish there were more fanfic about Ardelia post-Hannibal (the book, obvs), with her figuring stuff out. Not letting it go when the FBI is 400% done with everything. Getting cryptic messages from Clarice and being all “this doesn’t mean… noooo?!?”. Fun stuff.
Re-blog if the death of Rik Mayall has genuinely left you heart broken
RIP Rik Mayall
Now I’m in the break room at work crying my eyes out. I can’t believe it. Holy shit.
Does that make negative sense to anyone else.
The Petrified Forest
One thing I really appreciate about the show/character is that, for all the tension about Sarah’s spy awesomeness versus Chuck’s nerdy ordinariness, it is never based on their genders. He is totally unbothered by the fact that she is and always will be far more intimidating and physically capable than him. That is just never an issue. He never feels like he has to be the one who protects just because he’s the man and they’re dating. His masculinity isn’t in question, because he’s a civilian and she’s an agent and duh. It is a non-issue for them and that is amazing.
Contrariwise, I’ve seen some bitching that their relationship is the standard romantic comedy nerd wish fulfilment of the gorgeous, accomplished woman inexplicably falling for some complete loser and giving him endless chances to grow up and show her some hidden inner qualities. I don’t think that argument has a leg to stand on with this show. Chuck isn’t just some schlubby dork who refuses to let go of a protracted adolescence, he’s genuinely brilliant, capable, and admirable. I mean, first of all, he isn’t Seth Rogan; ZL is obviously every bit as good-looking as YS even though he is very dorked up and unkempt for the show, so it’s hardly a reinforcement of the comedy standard of women needing to be beautiful and magnetic where men can be loved for their personalities.
Second of all, Chuck is just as much of a fantasy as Sarah (neither of them are really, but at first glance). Not that he’s unrealistic, because he has very balanced flaws and he is totally believable, but he is an ideal in some ways the same way that Sarah seems to be until her character as a damaged and prickly person is revealed. Chuck is so incredibly loveable and faultlessly kind that pretty much everyone in the show ‘falls’ for him and wants to protect him (Sarah, Bryce, Casey, Beckman, etc.). He’s very smart, resourceful, responsible (in that he takes his crappy job seriously and is a natural leader, not ‘big picture’ responsible because he is still letting his life pass him by), sweet, brave (not reckless and macho, not stupid action movie brave- realistically brave), and selfless. He’s a charismatic idealist who believes the best of people so strongly that they often feel compelled to live up to his expectations. He’s a romantic and a people-pleaser who is very in touch with his feelings and doesn’t feel the least bit of shame about it. Chuck is the one who’s gregarious and fun, trying to get stoic Sarah to loosen up and live a little. He keeps trying to make a real connection even though she pushes him away and freezes him out. Seriously, he’s playing the role of ‘the girl’ in the relationship cliché we’re used to on television. This makes him (unintentionally, I’m sure) just as much of a fantasy to nerdy women as Sarah is to nerdy men.
He’s also so fleshed-out and real as a person, has such a fully realised life and so many disparate well-drawn relationships, that if anything you wonder what HE sees in HER at the beginning of the series. What makes her special beyond her beauty and ass-kicking? It takes a long time for us to find out and for Sarah to show real depth as a character because of their choice to draw her out as an inaccessible love-interest. We can’t know what she’s thinking because the show is firmly from Chuck’s POV and they wanted to do more will-they-or-won’t-they. It ends up making sense because of her backstory and stunted emotional growth, but I think that was more a fortuitous accident than a great master plan. She never does have any hobbies or interests, and come on. Even if her life is nothing but work, she’s going to be interested in things. She doesn’t listen to music, she must read or collect stamps or cook or watch DYI shows. Something!
Anyway. Sarah being a bit underwritten aside, their relationship is more awesome than not awesome and it is obvious why she would be attracted to him. His openness and warmth is exactly what she’s been missing her whole life, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I just realised that I’ve spilled a lot of ink without clearly understanding that one of the things that I enjoyed so much about Thor 1 Loki is that he is actually incredibly naïve. All that cunning and pragmatism in service of a goal which requires a child-like (not childish, though he is that too) innocence to believe will work out the way he hopes. Everyone will accept me and Daddy will love me if I can become more Thor than Thor (Thor got banned for being Thor- Loki understood politics and practical as opposed to performative kingship before this). I just find Loki the Tragic Teenage Prince who is way too smart for the stupid crap he does so endlessly fascinating as the antagonist of a comic book movie.* He’s so believable and so operatic at the same time, brilliant and cynical but really still just a child with a child’s wants.
In The Avengers, that bizarre sense of innocence is totally lost and he’s not naïve, he’s just foolish and his thinking is much less sophisticated. Which is really boring. (The loss of his innocence would not be not terrible writing, for once, if it were explicit in the film that he did go through all that whatever he went through. If we’re going there, however, it should be more than coyly hinted at that he’s been broken completely.)
Also probably the main reason why I dislike it so much when people cross the streams, because one thing that the mythic Loki definitively is not is naïve.
* Both Loki and Jane are really protagonists alongside our eponymous hero.