Hannibal Rising Movie Review

When I first saw the advertisements for Hannibal Rising, I feared the worst. The marketing people have decided to sell the movie as a teen slasher film. While the movie certainly doesn't measure up to The Silence of the Lambs (or even it's subsequent sequels), I'm happy to report that Hannibal Rising is watch-able (although I'm not sure I'd recommend it).

Hannibal Rising Poster

Starring: Gaspard Ulliel, Gong Li, Rhys Ifans, Ivan Marevich, Dominic WestDirected by: Peter WebberRelease Date: February 9th, 2007Genres: Suspense/Horror, Thriller, Adaptation and PrequelRunning Time: 117 minutesMPAA Rating: R for strong grisly violent content and some language/sexual references.Distributors: MGM, The Weinstein Company

Ever since Lambs was released, America has been obsessed with Hannibal Lecter. A charming and intelligent serial killer shrouded in mystery. One of my many concerns was that a peak behind the curtain may ruin his mystique and appeal.

Not much has been revealed of Lecter's origins until now (only a couple paragraphs that briefly mentioned his sister, if I remember correctly). Rising does attempt to reveal the who's, why's, where's and how's of Hannibal. But in the end the character's legacy is left virtually untouched. Mostly because anyone would fine it hard to relate the young long faced Gaspard Ulliel to the old round faced Anthony Hopkins. They could have at least gotten an actor that remotely resembles Hopkins', if not in looks than in charm. Instead we are left with a lifeless performance.

After Young Lecter's parents were killed in the war, he was taken hostage where he became witness to monstrosities against his little sister which would haunt and change his life forever. Now a young Man, Lecter has vowed to seek revenge against the group of men responsible.

Hannibal Rising

While I understand that most psychological problems stem from projection of past memories, Hannibal Rising purports that Lecter is nothing more than a re-projection of his childhood memories. I would like to think that Lecter is much more than that.

In one scene Lecter tries on a samurai mask that closely resembles the now infamous prison mask he was forced to wear in Silence of the Lambs. To insinuate that him trying on a samurai mask preludes his experience in jail is insulting to even the dumbest viewer.

The film is slow at times, but picks up steam when the serial killings begin. I've always been attracted to films which challenge you to think outside your moral beliefs. To be sympathetic for a mass murderer is a difficult task. And Hannibal Rising does pull this off somewhat. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a much better example of this morally ambiguous genre.

/Film Rating: 6 out of 10