The Wandering Poet

Buffy Brinkley on the Things that Inspire my Life, my Pen, and my Heart.

The Voice That Speaks Loudest

on September 2, 2015

It has been four days since the finale of “Hannibal,” and I find myself still in eternal awe over Richard Armitage’s performance as Francis Dolarhyde/Red Dragon. What continues to strike me dead center in my heart of hearts is that I was equally drawn to, repulsed by, empathetic towards, and scared of Francis Dolarhyde without Richard uttering very many words. In the overall, his role is nearly mute; he uses precise movement and facial expressions to convey much of the emotions his fractured character exhibits. When he’s sad, hopeful, angry, scared, hopeless, conniving, proud, or transforming, we know it by a look or a movement of his physical self. For those of us familiar with Richard’s work, we know this is the voice that speaks loudest.

In my world, I use words a lot to get my point across, and I am always fascinated by those who can convey so much in uttering so little. Richard is the master of volumes-with-an-expression, and this performance did not disappoint; it rather reaffirmed the degree of talent Richard possesses, the level of commitment he offers to those who trust him with the role, and his ability to immerse himself so completely we come to believe whatever he is showing us.

It was stated that the scene in which Dolarhyde spider-crawls over the sofa to bite the lips off Dr. Chilton served to scare and unnerve the crew who were present to the point of eliciting a physical and verbal response from them. I don’t doubt it. It elicited a similar response in me, but to know it happened on a sound stage without the nuances of the final production effects says a lot about Richard’s presence as an actor.

From first spark to dying ember, the fire which fuels Dolarhyde’s ultimate “becoming” burns brightest just before his death. Wounded, double-teamed, and yet strong and formidable given the chance to rise again. Richard has given us another character to mourn. And it’s quite a fitting end to the series as well.

Bloody black pinion beat their last in the moonlight as the Great Red Dragon is winged to his rest.

Rest in peace, “Hannibal.” You certainly went out with the best leading your exit! 😊 



2 responses to “The Voice That Speaks Loudest

  1. jholland says:

    Yes! What a rollercoaster of emotions. Early in the character arc, for me, he brought out the wounded child, and from there, we went soooo many very different places. I was sure he’d bring that special something to the role, but even I was amazed by the final result. I’d be hard pressed to name another such multi-faceted character, from RA’s work, or anyone’s. Surely BF will be eager to work with him again. =)

    Liked by 1 person

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