🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — Hannibal

AdGridley
7 min readOct 21, 2023

Wheelchair-bound Mason Verger and private physician, Dr Cordell Doemling, are paying Barney a consultancy fee. Barney’s discussing his time at Baltimore State Forensic Hospital. This is where FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling and Dr Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter interacted many times. For Lecter’s mask, Verger tells Cordell to cut a cheque for $250,000.

Raiding a meth lab, Starling says she knows boss, Evelda Drumgo, having arrested her twice on RICO warrants. DEA and ATF are there for the drugs and weapons. Bolton’s there because the mayor must appear tough on drugs, especially following the mayor’s own cocaine conviction.

Drumgo’s HIV positive and she’ll spit and bite. You don’t want to push her head down into a patrol car because there’ll likely be a needle in her hair.

Drumgo’s carrying a baby and Starling calls it too crowded. All units should stand down. Only Bolton refuses. A gangster sees Bolton’s gun and shots are fired.

Starling tells Drumgo, in zebra-print stilettos, to show her hands. Drumgo fires. Starling’s hit, but kills Drumgo. Starling hoses blood off Drumgo’s baby.

Lecter’s rich, fourth and only living victim, Verger, has information on Lecter just for Starling. Verger met Lecter as his patient, then Lecter visited Verger’s home. Lecter offered child-molester, Verger, a popper, encouraging Verger to carve off his own face.

Starling finds a hospital videotape and recognises Barney. Tennessee police weren’t civil to Lecter, so were killed within days. Barney survived for six years because he always remained civil.

Starling learns a Lecter-signed copy of The Joy of Cooking sold for $16,000. The seller’s affidavit of ownership was signed “Karen Phlox”. Karen Phlox filled out Barney’s employment application, but signed it “Barney,” like Barney’s tax returns. Starling wants everything Barney has, including recordings of the conversations.

The Capponi correspondence dates back to the 13th century. Sogliato says Dr Fell, in striped fedora hat, might hold a note from Dante Alighieri himself without recognising its importance. Fell’s language is admirable, but Sogliato suggests he lecture on Dante to the Studiolo.

Starling receives a letter addressed to “Clarice”. Lecter’s followed her public shaming. He suggests the worst thing about the humiliation is how Clarice’s failure reflects on her parents.

Lecter’s been hoisted to the more prestigious FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list and must return to public life. He’s on the other side from Clarice, but he’s sure that they’ll have a lot of fun.

Starling must know where the letter was written. The paper is expensive linen fibre, but could be found in a thousand stationery stores globally, the same with the ink and the wax.

One perfume expert recognises hand cream. Raw ambergris base. Tennessee lavender. Traces of fleece. Ambergris is a controlled substance derived from the whale. It’s not illegal in Japan, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam or London.

Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi notices Lecter in a perfume shop in Via Della Scala and learns of a $3m reward for information leading to Lecter’s capture. Pazzi should contact an attorney in Geneva. There’s a $100,000 advance once a fingerprint has been positively identified.

On the dungeon tapes, Lecter says it’s natural to want to taste the enemy. He dines on his victims to show his contempt for those who exasperate him.

Pazzi visits Fell, aka Lecter, at the Biblioteca Capponi about Lecter’s disappeared predecessor. A barefoot Lecter says it was at the Palazzo Vecchio that Pazzi’s ancestor was hanged five hundred years earlier.

Francesco de’ Pazzi was thrown naked with a noose around his neck from a window. Writhing and kicking alongside the archbishop against the cold, stone wall.

Pazzi buys a bracelet. He tells pickpocket Gnocco that Lecter will catch him by the wrist. Pazzi needs a clean print. Gnocco accosts Lecter, who calmly stabs Gnocco to death. Pazzi takes the fingerprinted bracelet.

Verger’s discussing the maturation of his mutated, flesh-eating boars on the phone. Cordell will fax the veterinary forms directly to Animal and Plant Health, but Carlo should get the affidavits from Sardinia. Carlo says the “boys” are 270kg and respond aggressively to the sound of screaming. Verger calls it “super”.

After an expensive outdoor opera, Pazzi introduces wife, Allegra, to Dr Fell. Lecter kisses her hand on meeting and on leaving, disarmingly insisting Allegra keep Dante’s priceless first sonnet from La Vita Nuova.

Starling notices Lecter sourcing perfume. She’d like to thank Pazzi for the security tape. She asks if Pazzi’s heard of Hannibal Lecter. Pazzi hasn’t.

Starling says he’s killed at least fourteen people. Someone in Italy’s been accessing the FBI’s private VICAP files about Lecter from Pazzi’s home computer. Starling urges Pazzi not to risk pursuing the reward. Pazzi hangs up.

Lecter shows Pazzi a slide of a hanging Francesco de’ Pazzi. Soon, Pazzi himself is gagged and restrained. Lecter asks a series of important logistical questions peppered with threats of cannibalising Pazzi’s wife.

Lecter says okey-dokey and answers Pazzi’s phone. It’s Clarice. He asks if she liked the skin cream he created for her, but is otherwise busy. He slits open Pazzi’s stomach and tips him off the balcony. Lecter slashes Matteo’s throat and escapes.

Verger says Lecter likes degradation and suffering. To draw Lecter, Starling must be distressed. Verger smacks his lips, summoning Cordell with wine and a straw.

Starling’s found apparently withholding a hellish artefact. Krendler reads “Did Clarice ever think why the philistines don’t understand her? It’s because she’s the answer to Samson’s riddle. She’s the honey in the lion”.

Starling tells Director Noonan she thinks Verger’s trying to capture Lecter for personal revenge. Krendler’s in collusion with him and wants the FBI’s efforts against Lecter to work for Verger. Starling must surrender her badge and gun.

She falls asleep listening to dungeon tapes. On the phone, Lecter reminds Clarice that if she gets caught with a concealed, unlicenced firearm in DC, the penalty’s very stiff.

Lecter directs Clarice to Union Station communicating via earpiece. Lecter’s left hibernation and now he’s home and he’s very happy and very healthy.

Lecter says Clarice serves the idea of order, believes in the oath she took and feels it’s her duty to protect the sheep. The Bureau does not.

Clarice offers to protect Lecter. He asks if she really thinks she can simultaneously arrest Lecter and Verger’s men. He swishes her hair from a merry-go-round, leaving black, Gucci stilettos for her in a photo booth.

Starling reports to Noonan that two men were in a van, a third driving, another man down. Lecter’s in the back. Starling took the licence plate. After police conduct a fruitless search of Verger’s house, Verger tells Carlo to bring Lecter home.

Lecter’s restrained. Verger calls out Hylochoerus (hi-o-kor-us) meinertzhageni (my-nar-tsah-gen-ee), wearing a purple, silk robe. The meal will begin with an hors d’oevres tartare: Lecter’s feet. The rest of Lecter won’t be served until seven hours later.

Carlo plays screaming and the bloodthirsty boars all trot toward the pen. Starling arrives and announces herself, soon shooting Carlo in the chest and Piero soon after.

Lecter says there’s someone in the loft. Clarice shoots this man, but is herself hit. Lecter collects Clarice’s gun and rescues her from the boars, Piero’s torn apart.

Verger arrives and commands Cordell to shoot Lecter. Cordell will not. Lecter suggests Cordell push Verger in, then blame it on Lecter. Verger’s eaten alive.

Lecter chloroforms Krendler at his own lake house. A groggy Clarice wakes up dressed in elegant evening wear and black stilettos. On the phone, Clarice is told the authorities will arrive in ten minutes.

Dressed formally in dark suit and burgundy tie, Lecter tells Clarice to surrender the snow globe she’s carrying intended as a weapon. Lecter compliments her dress. Krendler says Grace, incorporating an insult to Clarice. She secretly pockets a table knife while Krendler grins broadly at her.

He whispers he’s going to congress and that she should come around campaign headquarters. Excitedly, Krendler asks if Starling can type and file and take dictation. He repeats an off-colour, sexist phrase to her, laughing maniacally.

Lecter fetches a long straw and makes Krendler drink his broth. Krendler sips with gusto, then pulls a face. Lecter confesses he added something, thinking perhaps it’s clashing with the cumin.

Krendler becomes sedated. Lecter reclaims the table knife from Clarice. With a scalpel, Lecter removes Krendler’s skull. He says Krendler won’t miss part of the prefrontal lobe, the seat of good manners.

Lecter sautés the brain fragment. Krendler soon agrees it tastes good, as Clarice retches. Krendler, brain still exposed, says he’s never gonna hire Starling, his head lolling forward. Lecter wheels him backwards into the kitchen and Clarice grabs a candlestick.

Lecter overpowers Clarice and traps her ponytail in the fridge, breaking off the handle. Lecter kisses her on the lips and discovers they’re handcuffed together. Soon, he’s wielding a cleaver, asking above or below the wrist.

On a flight, Lecter’s arm’s in a sling. He opens a Dean & Deluca box and sips a 1996 Chateau Phelan Segur. A boy’s curious. Lecter shows him Beluga caviar and figs.

Lecter presents Krendler’s brain without directly identifying it. The boy politely requests some. He couldn’t eat what they gave him. Lecter says his Mum used to say “It’s important always to try new things”. Lecter says open up.

Starring Anthony Hopkins. Julianne Moore. Gary Oldman. Rated 18. Dir Ridley Scott. Released in the UK 2001. Runtime 2hrs 11mins

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AdGridley

Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)