This post is brought to you by the letter ‘M.’ Not for Micha, not for Murreita, no, today M is for Michael Mann’s magnificent movie ‘Manhunter.’
Hannibal smannibal, I say. Despite all the praise and notoriety that Thomas Harris’ masterful madman has garnered since the success of Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal in “The Silence of the Lambs,” I dare to say that he is not the most interesting character at play. Indeed, I posture the heretical argument that Hannibal is far too simple to be as interesting as everyone seems to think. Rather, the most interesting character conceived of Harris’ brain is the underplayed and rarely considered, Will Graham.
Which is perhaps the reason why I am rather enamored of the new “Hannibal” tv show. While Hannibal the cannibal himself is certainly a main character, he is countered wonderfully by a well-portrayed Will Graham. The duo together and against each other makes for a tense, fun-to-watch, psychological train wreck.
Will is smart, capable, and good-looking, but none of those things make him so interesting. What I love about the character is the looming chasm of darkness that he is constantly threatened by and even better, he knows it, sees it, and his own self-control and intelligence are what protects him. Even when he’s sick or being manipulated, he never gives up that internal control. He may choose to step off into the abyss, but he will not be forced.
If Will chooses to do everything that he does, that leads us to a place of stark truth. His actions cannot be excused as the fault of another. His atrocities may serve a purpose, but he cannot be absolved. Will Graham is infinitely changeable, the definition of possibility, and a great character.