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Hannibal: Season 3 by Brian Reitzell (Review)

posted Dec 30, 2015, 1:46 PM by Kaya Savas

Hannibal will most likely be a score experience you won’t get with another TV series. Brian Reitzell has delivered one of the most intricate and meticulously crafted works of atmospheric storytelling you’ll find. The score will be a challenging listen for most people, it requires patience and involvement from you as a listener. I can see many people giving up on it after a track or two, but those who can plunge into the darkness and finish the journey should find that the score is a special kind of storytelling.

Hannibal is not a score that will hold your hand, in fact it will do everything it can to make sure you cannot grasp it at all. You know those pencil mazes people draw without ever lifting the pencil up? The ones that are one continuous line? That’s a great comparison for Reitzell’s work here. If the pencil ever lifts up, it’s between Volume 1 and Volume 2. But the body of the score overall is one painstaking long inhale, holding of the breath and exhaling. The score will send shivers down your spine with its unnerving instrumentation. It will wash over you slowly in long 8-minute atmospheric clouds of score. And while all this is going on you won’t know which way is up, down, left or right. It really does immerse you in this sonic hell. The only issue with that though that I find is that with no sense of direction, it’s hard to grasp progression. It’s rather difficult to feel where the story or the characters are moving, and in all fairness that could have been the intention. NBC cancelled the series after this season. So unless it gets picked up down the road somewhere else, these two volumes are the end. I rather enjoyed Brian Reitzell’s approach over the 3 seasons. I know most people might find it boring as a standalone, but the score serves the series well and is in an arena of suspense all on its own.

The final season of Hannibal is a score that will challenge you as a listener. They payoff for me was worth it, but I know for some it might not be. Most scores and storytelling in general are comparable to a roller coaster. Hannibal has always been more like jumping into a pool where all the underwater lights are burned off except for one flickering one that’s about to die all the way in the deep end. The score’s shape takes a long time to present itself, and the ambient nature is very effective at building a deep darkness. If you’re up to the challenge of 2.5 hours of ambient suspense then jump in, it really is worth it.