Critics’ responses to Hannibal 3.12 and Richard Armitage, continued

TV411: “Richard Armitage gets a lot more screen time this week as Dolarhyde and he continues to kill it. I know the Emmys have avoided the show like the plague but is there no way we can’t get him some sort of nomination for his work here? He’s outacting everyone, Hugh Dancy included, at this point. I was on the fence before, but I truly think he has the best version of Dolarhyde, beating both Tom Noonan and Ralph Fiennes. He’s progressed from a serial killer that still had human traits at times to something monstrous. He was animal-like before but now he’s achieved his becoming. As he points out to Reba at the end of the episode, now he’s the Dragon. The crazy thing is that you can see him evolve over the course of the season to get there. He’s completely lost it and we witnessed it happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if Reba, who survived before, didn’t make it out of this show alive.”

More Stars Than in the Heavens: “How this aired on network TV, I have no idea.”

HitFix: Thinks Armitage looks like Noonan (okay).

CutPrintFilm: Suggests that the homoerotic elements of the Chilton / Dragon scene reproduce the dynamic of the Harris novel where the Dragon’s victim was female.

TVJunkies: “I’ve mentioned earlier that Armitage manages to play some of the Red Dragon’s more over-the-top behavior in a way that still somehow manages to keep the horror of the listener/reader intact. It’s really a marvel to watch, and a lot of this success is owed to his total committal to the character — Armitage doesn’t hold back in the slightest, therefore the character is truly believable in his madness, and therefore he is realistically terrifying. [¶[] This was certainly the experience with this week’s attack on Chilton. Armitage’s very specific manner of speaking as the Great Red Dragon is absolutely chilling. [¶] From his pregnant pauses and the laborious way he pronounces many of his sentences, Armitage’s Dragon is never silly. The way he loomed over Chilton with his mask half-on and half-off, the way he climbed over the couch like an actual animal, with his prosthetic dragon’s maw, to take a bite out of Chilton’s already messed up face: it was all so perfect.” “This episode was all sorts of awesome.” Speculates the reason that Hannibal can get away with all this gruesome stuff is that no one is watching it. Scene by scene commentary. “Then we see Armitage in fine form. He has a bit of Tom Noonan, a bit of Ralph Fiennes, and every bit of Harris going on. Dolarhyde, his face covered in the stocking-like cap, wears a kimono and sits behind Chilton. His voice feels deeper, changed now. Is he becoming, more and more now? Has his becoming pushed him to the next stage? I think so. We watch as Francis Dolarhyde slowly slips into the darkness. Who/what emerges, pushing itself into the foreground, is the Great Red Dragon. His becoming is nearly complete now. Richard Armitage is a blessing. I love to see a role that’s already classic to so many film fans/book readers become a fresh, new vision in the arms of an actor. It just goes to show that many of these modern literary characters and villains we come to enjoy and love so much are similar to stage characters – just as actors, like Armitage and many others who have graced the stage before and continue to do so, play the characters of Shakespeare over and over yet actors bring new things to the role, nowadays actors on television and film can do the same. We have people like Hannibal Lecter, Francis Dolarhyde, and so many more (I won’t go on with all the great literary characters brought to life in film/television – you know there are tons). Here, we get to see Armitage bring that type of sensibility to the small screen.” Solid discussion of biblical themes. “Richard Armitage at his most terrifying” but also gives the award to Esparza.

AVClub: ““The Number Of The Beast 666” was fully Richard Armitage’s episode to command, and command it he did. The voice of the Red Dragon seems to come from a place deep inside of him, rumbling up through his throat. It’s a wholly physical performance that is best embodied by his movement as the Red Dragon, slithering across to bite Chilton. The camera certainly helps him embody this creature: He towers over his prey, Chilton, who is ensnared in the chair. The camera is tilted up to make Francis the beast in complete control. Another beautifully shot image featured Chilton upright, racing Francis, who seems to be horizontal. His body is out of the frame, his head only attached to a long neck, much like the lizard he has become.”

Slant: “When Francis utters one of the best, scariest lines from Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, “Fear is not what you owe me. You owe me awe,” the sequence achieves operatic lunacy.”

Vox: Lots on fairytale references. Dolarhyde as big, bad wolf.

~ by Servetus on August 23, 2015.

8 Responses to “Critics’ responses to Hannibal 3.12 and Richard Armitage, continued”

  1. “Richard Armitage is a blessing.” I wholly concur. I haven’t seen All of Fiennes’ performance, I have seen Noonan’s on several occasions, but I will say again I don’t think even the excellent Fiennes could top what RA has done with this character.
    And I do think this was the goriest and scariest of the three scenes with the journalist (who was Freddie Loundes the tabloid reporter who was a GUY in the original book, I do believe) and yet the only one made for network TV. Go figure. I guess that reviewer was right. You can get away with it if nobody is watching 😉


    • Someone told me she thought the problem with Fiennes’ performance is that he doesn’t have any moments of recognizable humanity.

      I also think this murder is particularly brutal because the other characters set him up for it so blatantly. I didn’t miss what Will was doing while he was doing it, but just in case anyone did, he also debriefed about it for five minutes with Bedelia …


      • If that was the case with Ralph’s entire characterization, then it would have been a problem for me .  If he (or she) is  a monster through and through  from the get-go, then I just don’t have the same  emotional investment in the character. Again, referring to Sir Guy, I don’t think I would have ever become so solidly Team Leather with Gisborne (in spite of the fetching costumes and Guyliner and raven locks), if Richard’s layered performance hadn’t let us see Gisborne’s humanity with all its vulnerability and gullibility.

        And yes, this was so totally a set-up. I don’t particularly care for Chilton, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy  as Will kept throwing out those totally  harsh comments about the Dragon for their cooked-up  story, knowing Chilton would certainly become the next target. It’s as if they were trying to get him killed in some horrible way (being burned like that is a real phobia for me). The blame for what happened has to fa ll at their doorsteps as well as at Francis’s. Shall I say things are clearly not black and white, with plenty of shades of grey here? 😉


        • he’s also missing a kidney, I believe, as a consequence of getting kidnapped by Abel Gideon in season 1, so he’s been through the wringer. Although he may also have done something terrible in 3.1-7.


          • I admit I wasn’t always watching so closely those first seven eps (sometimes I was frankly struggling to stay focused),  but I don’t recall anything particularly heinous he did.  


            • Chilton was angry at the beginning and rallied Will, Jack and Alana together to fight Hannibal, but after that, he didn’t do much. I think his appearance was just to remind us of his existence. Mostly I think that they used a less major character to be the Dragon’s victim. Perhaps major characters may be attacked in the finale. I’m wondering about Alana, and after this week’s show, about Bedelia.


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