If the rise of true-crime podcasts and riveting television recreations wasn’t enough to highlight, as a society, we have a fascination with killers. Who are they, what makes them tick, and are they any different from the average man on the street? In 2021, 30 years after her film introduction, legendary criminal investigator, Clarice Starling was brought back into action, but is the world of 1993 too soon for the promising agent? As the spectre looms in Clarice.
After the harrowing case with Buffalo Bill, Clarice Starling is eager to return and put the ordeal behind her. She did save Senator Martin’s daughter, who recently got a promotion with the new administration as Attorney General. Starling is put into Martin’s new task force, V.I.C.A.P., specialised in tracking down violent individuals. Yet, her return may be a little premature, even though she says that she’s up to it. An overarching conspiracy, and pressure from the force and within her mind, are starting to take their toll. Is Clarice up to the challenge, or is she seeing the shade of Buffalo Bill everywhere?
Clarice comes in with arguably more than one arm tied behind its back. Due to issues regarding rights, it can only utilise characters that were introduced in The Silence of the Lambs. Thus, a certain cannibalistic psychologist, locked in a Baltimore basement, can only be loosely alluded to. Props should go to Rebecca Breeds, who manages to look a lot like early 90s Jodie Foster (but with a touch of Eliot Page). She also manages to capture the attitude of being fresh off a daunting case, while still a fair few years before her jaded outlook and subsequent run-ins with Mason Verger a decade later, as depicted by Julianne Moore.
Producer Alex Kurtzman once again has the task of adapting a beloved multimedia media property to the televisionary tastes of the late 2010s. He does so with trademark procedural interim cases overarched by a sinister narrative as links between these seemingly unrelated cases start to emerge. Doing so in a way that bears some hallmarks with the acclaimed Mads Mikkelsen-led Hannibal, but with a greater focus placed on the victims, and the unintended victims. As certain demographics feel the burden of these crimes, and the unfair reactions of the media. Clarice approaches these issues thoughtfully, in a way that is more reflective of attitudes of the 21st century. The examination of the scars from dealing with such a harrowing case is the recurring theme. As Clarice is eager to put the past behind her, and not label herself a victim of Buffalo Bill, although he did leave an impact.
Clarice ends with its single season, another example of a Hannibal-based T.V. show that didn’t have the backing to go the distance. Although not officially on the chopping block, and only recently got an international release, only time will tell if Starling’s interim career before meeting Mason Verger will be revealed. Still, as the fascination of yesteryear criminal procedurals still captivates audiences, Clarice captures the pulse, and in some instances the mindset, of what makes those narratives so compelling.
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