Hannibal Rising Movie Review

As bad as Hannibal Rising is -- and believe me, it's terrible - this fictional biography of the beloved Dr. Hannibal Lecter could have been worse. After all, financing studio MGM and its assorted producers could have tossed a small fortune at Sir Anthony Hopkins in hopes of coercing the Academy Award winner back to the title role -- never mind the fact that the picture covers the cannibal's formative years.

The Lecter character has appeared in five different films now, which by my count is four too many. Brian Cox gets credit for first playing the imprisoned killer in Michael Mann's underrated Manhunter. But Lecter didn't become a household name until Hopkins sank his teeth into the role for The Silence of the Lambs. Since then, Hollywood has strained its muscles beating every dollar it could from this dead horse of a character. We've endured the Jodie Foster-free sequel Hannibal and Red Dragon, an unnecessary Manhunter remake with Hopkins in the Lecter role.

Author Thomas Harris has the power to nip this Lecter fetish in the bud, but he apparently craves cash the way our good doctor hungers for human organs (or the cash he earns for these tales). And so, we now face Rising, an unwatchable mess of a movie that asks an intense Gaspard Ulliel (of A Very Long Engagement) to re-enact Lecter's earliest days.

Those up on their Lambs trivia might remember passing mentions of Lecter's youth. It was suggested that a horrific event involving his sister, Mischa, turned Hannibal from obedient son to stark-raving-mad murderer. As Rising explains, the killer's origins also include samurai training from a distant aunt (Gong Li), a crash course in the culinary arts, medical-school training in Paris, and a lethal vendetta waged against the Russian soldiers who may or may not have eaten Mischa alive.

Rising is director Peter Webber's second feature film, and it shows. Ugly and drab, the film has the mood of a morgue. It falls back on predictable slasher-film clichés (gone is the thrill of the chase that drove Lambs), and reduces Hannibal to a one-note joke of a villain, a soulless killing machine with as much depth as a contact lens.

By this point, a Lecter prequel would only appeal to the most dedicated fan base, and yet Rising makes mistakes that will drive the core audience crazy. I'm not talking about the easy plot holes, the ones you could drive a truck through. Though you might ask yourself why, after 10 years, the chateau where Hannibal and Mischa were held prisoner remains untouched, even though there was a working orphanage right next door.

No, I'm more bothered by a particular scene that's included for dramatic effect, even though it messes with Lecter's mythology. You might have seen the shot on the poster. It shows young Lecter wearing an Asian mask that places three recognizable bars over his mouth. The image is supposed to conjure memories of Lambs, as it resembles the protective guard authorities slapped on a straightjacketed Hopkins. And that's just it. Lecter never chose to wear that mask, as Rising suggests. It was forced on him. How pathetic that a movie claiming to honor Lecter's past can't even get his history straight.

Just a couple more steps and we can wrap this up before lunch.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Tarak Ben Ammar, ,

Starring : , , , Ivan Marevich,


Abigail L.D Brooks's picture

Abigail L.D Brooks

I saw this film a while ago and was very excited by the trailer.I love all the lector films but most admit this didn't live up to the others.The story was interesting to go back to the background of Hannibal Lector and how he became the brutal serial killer.The young actor Gaspard Ulliel had a difficult task of matching the standard to a legend like Anthony Hopkins but to be fair to Gaspard he tried and performed well.Although you can understand more about Hannibal Lector and why he became who he had later become and almost though that part of the story needs to be told to make more sense of the madman.Still the young Hannibal is interesting to watch and will give you some suprises.Although I do regret despite its efforts Hannibal Rising lacked the chills and pace of the others can be slow moving in parts but if you like a revenge thriller movie or just want to piece the jigsaw of the past of Hannibal Lector its worth a look.Although I do feel more could have been done with this movie and maybe could have merged it more with red dragon would have given it more of a boost it needed!Unless another lector movie is on the cards to do this?Then this would be the warm up then!

7 years 4 months ago
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Hannibal Rising Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: R, 2007


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