“Clarice”, the serial sequel to “Silence of the Lambs”, has been available in US + 24 on the Salto platform since Friday. This revisit of the novels of Thomas Harris, centered on Clarice Starling, but without Hannibal Lecter, is it worth the turning?
What is it about ?
In 1993, a year after his face to face with Hannibal Lecter, FBI agent Clarice Starling returned to the field to prosecute murderers and sexual predators. Investigations which will also lead him to investigate the political plots being hatched in Washington, while at the same time his demons will soon resurface …
Available on Salto in US + 24 at the rate of one episode per week since February 12
Who is it with?
To succeed Jodie Foster and Julianne Moore in the skin of Clarice Starling, the producers of Clarice have set their sights on the 33-year-old Australian actress Rebecca Breeds, still unknown to the general public despite her participation in a few episodes of Pretty Little Liars and by The Originals. Facing her, Michael Cudlitz, whom fans of Southland and The Walking Dead know well, plays Paul Krendler, another character from the novels of Thomas Harris, who is here Clarice’s superior within ViCAP, a special unit of the FBI charged with analyzing serial violent and sexual crimes.
Kal Penn (Dr House, Designated Survivor), Lucca De Oliveira (Animal Kingdom), Nick Sandow (Orange Is The New Black), Devyn A. Tyler (The Purge) as Ardelia Mapp, Clarice’s roommate in The Silence of the Lambs, or Jayne Atkinson (Criminal Minds) in the skin of Ruth Martin, now Attorney General of the United States, complete the cast of this serial sequel inevitably awaited at the turn by fans of the Thomas saga. Harris and previous adaptations.
Well worth a look ?
Almost six years after Hannibal’s end, Bryan Fuller’s television adaptation of the adventures of the most famous cannibal psychiatrist, it’s the turn of Clarice Starling, the young FBI recruit who made it possible to arrest Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs, to have the right to its own series. And therefore to his own tribute, in the form of a fairly classic cop show which will be broadcast in the coming months on TF1 and which is already available in preview on the Salto streaming platform, which offers weekly since February 12 a new episode to the rhythm of the American broadcast on CBS.
Developed by Jenny Lumet, to whom we owe the screenplay of Rachel marries (directed by Jonathan Demme, director of Silence of the Lambs, Everything is Linked), and by Alex Kurtzman (Fringe, Star Trek Picard, The Mummy ) according to the characters in Thomas Harris’ novel, Clarice begins in a rather effective way, with flashbacks to support it, by drawing us into the weakened, even damaged, spirit of Agent Starling. A year after the events of the novel and the feature film with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, the young woman struggles to overcome the trauma of her confrontation with Buffalo Bill, as well as the media surge that followed. Clarice does not see herself as a survivor, let alone a victim of the serial killer’s actions. Yet the past continues to haunt her even in her nightmares, and her superiors, like the psychiatrist who follows her, do not seem convinced of her ability to return to the field anytime soon. But it is without counting on the intervention of Ruth Martin, the mother of the only survivor of the reign of terror of Buffalo Bill, who will ask him to come as quickly as possible to Washington to lend a hand to an FBI unit which investigating the most sordid serial crimes and is currently facing a particularly thorny case.
On the basis of this first episode, one observation emerges fairly quickly: it is the consequences of what happened to him in The Silence of the Lambs, and therefore his psychic and emotional state, which constitute the most interesting element of the character. by Clarice Starling. But faced with the impossibility of directly mentioning Hannibal Lecter for questions of rights – the psychiatrist is all the same evoked in a roundabout way but will never appear in the series – the writers obviously preferred to use this passive as a starting point , even as a pretext, in order to launch what, in the end, looks like a procedural detective series as we have already seen hundreds of. Certainly, for any fan of the franchise devoted to Lecter, it is rather nice to come across characters such as Catherine Martin, Ardelia Mapp, or Paul Krendler over the course of this introductory episode. But these nods seem above all to be a not very subtle way to attract the viewer and establish Clarice as a sequel. Which it is not really, since the series is more of the “spin-off”, which borrows its heroine from The Silence of the Lambs and plunges her into a universe that looks more like Criminal Minds than the novels of Thomas Harris. With each episode its survey of the week.
Deprived of Hannibal, Clarice simply lacks bite. Not sure, therefore, that fans of The Silence of the Lambs find their account in this series which, twenty years after the release of the feature film, attempts, in its own way, to fill the void that separates the meeting of Sarling and Lecter, and their reunion in Hannibal. But fans of detective dramas will certainly not shy away from their pleasure in front of Clarice which, if we take it for what it is (a procedural detective series), is not the worst that American television has offered us. Far from there. Beyond its aesthetic and its ultra-meticulous production, not so common in network series, Clarice can count on the solid interpretation of its actors. Starting with Rebecca Breeds, who manages to give shape to her own Starling, without imitating the work of Jodie Foster in Jonathan Demme’s film. Side intrigue, the investigation of the first episode is not particularly fascinating, past the glaucous crime scene, in the purest tradition of the saga. But the end of the pilot episode draws the beginnings of a red thread which could turn out to be more interesting if it is correctly developed.
With this proposal darker and more sordid than what is currently done on American television in terms of policing, CBS seems in any case to have found its new Criminal Minds, which stopped last year after 15 seasons. And that may be, after all, all she was looking for when giving Clarice the green light. But one can not help imagining what could have been the result of the adventures of Agent Starling in the form of a more serialized series, which would have told only one investigation per season, à la The Killing. A sweet dream that we may be entitled to, who knows, in twenty years, during a reboot on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Silence of the Lambs.