So, I'd like to introduce you all to Mariana, she runs a wonderful blog called Gatochy's Blog. She usually posts about a variety of subjects, she always has interesting ideas, and she loves art, film, music... Today, she is writing a guest post here at my blog, it is a review of the movie "The Remains of the Day." Enjoy!
I accidentally caught a glimpse of 1993's "The Remains of the Day" on tv, and it made me realize a) why I hate it, and b) why Anthony Hopkins was picked to play Hannibal, the cold, psychotic criminal who eats people without raising his heart beat.
In "The Remains..." he's a stiff upper lip butler who works in a big mansion, and he has lots of employees under his charge, namely his own father and Emma Thompson, who is the housekeeper. In the IMDB page his character is defined as "A butler who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years before World War II (and) realizes too late how misguided his loyalty has been." But that is so misleading. There is no supressed emotion here -- there is no emotion here. Sacrificing his humanity or common decency is not something that was ever asked of him, or something that simply came with the job. He chose to do away with them all on his own because he genuinely didn't need them. He's a silent, quiet monster.
Example: his father is sick, and dies in his bed while a dinner party is going on. It's up to Emma to see Anthony in private to give him the bad news. His retort goes something like: "I see" or "I understand". How about "Hmmm" eh, Anthony? Emma asks him if he would like to see the body. Anthony says he's busy now, girlfriend, he'll see it laters. He uses the word perhaps, perhaps later. Perhaps? You mean there's a chance he may choose to not see his father later in the day? Remember she is not exactly inviting him for tea and scones. Saying not at this very moment, thank you, perhaps later, is not the apropriate response.
Now Emma is in the horrible position of having to ask Anthony for permission to close his father's eyes, to which Anthony acquiesces. Put yourself in her shoes: here you are, working in a household, and someone dies. All of a sudden it's up to you to touch a dead body, to close the eyes of this man who is essentially a stranger to you, like so many other to-do items on your list: clean the stairways, wash the dishes, close Anthony's dead father's eyes.... Not cool, Anthony, not cool. But Anthony is all, yes please Emma, if you would be so kind, because I am rather busy right now as you can see, I don't have time to see my father for the last time. You'd think there were no other employees who could stand around looking stiff in his place. It's not that it was necessary to ask that of Emma, or that he had any right to do so, he simply doesn't care about people.
For me this character just goes to prove you don't have to be a raving lunatic who eats people to be creepy. Just being this cold, autistic, shockingly inappropriate person is more than enough. Remember the butler in "The Shining"? He was another one. All he had to do was stand there talking about how he had corrrrrrected his wife and kids and he made you shiver to the bone.