Monday, September 21, 2009

Manhunter analysis - part 12: Graham is manipulated into going to Florida

CATEGORY: MOVIES     [Hidden plot related]

We left off part 11 with Dr. Chilton having read the toilet tissue note to Graham and Crawford. Later, after the note has been transferred from the prison in Baltimore to the FBI in Washington, it undergoes extensive lab analyses. Following this, there is a meeting among the investigators and other personnel to discuss the lab results, and during this meeting, a coded 'response' to the note from Lecktor comes through and is read to the investigators. The response is an ad to the National Tattler 'personals' section, and is in the form of a 'book code'. After trying and failing to figure out what the coded response says, a decision is made to go ahead and run the ad as is, without knowing what it says. Graham volunteers himself as bait in a trap to draw out Dollarhyde. Later, Graham, Crawford, and Dr. Bloom give Freddy Lounds fictitious information on the Tooth Fairy, so that Lounds can write up an article that will, hopefully, entice the Tooth Fairy into this trap. However, the Tooth Fairy (Francis Dollarhyde) does not fall for the setup. Later, in the hospital where Lounds has been taken, after being tortured and set on fire by Dollarhyde, Crawford approaches Will and informs him that one of the other investigators (Lloyd Bowman) has now figured out Lecktor's 'book code': Crawford tells Will that it says, "Graham home, 3860 DeSoto Highway, Captiva, Florida. Save yourself - kill them all." This is a critical point in the movie: it is the culmination of the intended effect of Lecktor's psychological manipulation of Graham up to this point. The translated book code is the 'message' sent by Lecktor to Will: Upon hearing the message, Will immediately runs to get a flight to Florida, where the Graham's Captiva home is located; ostensibly, this is to protect Molly and Kevin from the Tooth Fairy, but in reality, he is headed there to kill his own family.

Above Left: Crawford (standing at left) reveals to Graham the decoded book code message. Above right: Upon hearing the message, Will immediately runs to get a flight to Florida.

Once Will has headed out of the hospital, the next scene takes place inside the Graham home: we are shown Kevin waking up Molly and telling her that someone is outside. The purpose of showing this scene immediately after Graham runs to get a flight, is to suggest that it might be Will (as a killer) who is outside. Luckily, when Molly answers the front door, she is met by a state trooper.

Above left and right: As we follow Molly toward the front door of the Graham residence in Captiva (left), we are shown a view of a colorful aquarium filling the screen (right).

It should be mentioned here that when Lecktor made the phone call from his cell to get Will's home address, the street name and number given to him were '3680 DeSoto Highway'; but the translated book code says 3860 DeSoto Highway, as indicated above - the '6' and the '8' are transposed. Lecktor has intentionally used the transposed number in his coded 'response' to Dollarhyde's note, which he knows is going to be read to Will, in order to give Will the 'opportunity' not to murder his family. As described earlier, Will's unconscious has been trying to resolve the issue of whether he himself is a killer or not. Lecktor has been playing on this dilemma within Will's psyche to implement his plan, so the suggestion to Will that he murder his own family must be given in such a way that it fits within the context of this dilemma - Will must be presented with an alternative to killing his family, then he is to resolve the dilemma by going ahead and killing them. That is why 'Graham home' is used in the message - it 'pushes' Will toward killing them. In short, the transposed numerical address provides the element of uncertainty within Will over which path he is to take, while at the same time, 'Graham home' gives him a nudge in the direction of going ahead and murdering them.


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