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5 reviews, 10 user ratings

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Hannibal Rising
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by Doug Bentin

"Well, it isn’t “Hannibal Risible.”"
3 stars

The latest chapter in the Hannibal Lecter saga almost fails because of a miscast director (Peter Webber, “Girl With a Pearl Earring’) and almost succeeds because of great cinematography from Ben Davis and some gloriously sleazy characters. It exists somewhere in the middle—watchable but never memorable. Anthony Hopkins put his brand on this character as surely as Anthony Perkins did on Norman Bates.

The film begins in Lithuania in 1944. The war is on and Hannibal, who appears to be around eight years old, flees the family castle, moving into a hunting lodge with his parents and young sister Mischa. Advancing Soviets arrive only to be fried by German aircraft. The parental Lecters are killed as well. Then five local collaborators show up and decide to hide out at the lodge.

But it’s winter and times are hard. In order to survive, they eat Mischa, whom they claim will soon die of pnuemonia anyway. I hate it when Nazi collaborators eat my sister, and I’m glad to know it isn’t just me. More bombs fall and one of the snackers is killed and the other four scatter. Hannibal is rescued by the good guys and then spends the next ten years in an orphanage established by the Soviets in his family castle. He finall runs away to find relatives in France.

He locates an aunt by marriage, Lady Murasaki (Gong Li) who is conveniently able to teach him how to decapitate scumbuckets with a Japanese sword. Now that all the pieces are in place, let’s get ready to rumble.

From this point on the film is a series of revenge murders, and not just against those who ate Mischa. It seems that Hannibal has developed an aversion to all bullies as well.

Thomas Harris, who wrote the novels these films were based on, wrote the script and does some interesting things with it. Even knowing what kind of monster this young man will turn out to be, we can’t help but sympathize with him the way we do with other out-of-control revengers. As long as he has a good reason and the killings don’t cross an undefined border of sadism, we can go along with them. Harris knows this and moves Hannibal slowly to the point where he and we have to say sayonara.

But the moment does come, and while it seems inevitable, it’s still shocking. I can’t be more specific. Sorry.

Gaspard Ulliel plays Hannibal adaquately but not spectacularly. He comes across like a good actor protraying evil in a movie he thinks is kinda silly. I could sit next to him in a restaurant and never think he’s about to order some fava beans and a nice chianti. On screen, his madness is all in his facial expressions, and they are limited to two.

Gong Li adds some class to the essentially thankless role of aunt/ennabler, and Dominic West is convincing as the French cop who understands Hannibal’s tragedy but wishes he’d commit his murdere outside of France. He’s one of those softies who believes in arresting villains. Or maybe he’s just on a strict no-Nazi diet. Rhys Ifans, as the chief villain, is so slimey he makes your average garden slug look like a strip of beef jerkey. Bet he tastes like ham.

It’s all mid-tier nastiness. A Hannibal Lecter story could be a lot worse than this, but a couple of them have been a lot better.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15565&reviewer=405
originally posted: 03/22/07 10:32:36
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User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell boring as hell 4 hannibal devotees ONLY 1 stars
12/20/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 3 stars
12/14/08 mr.mike The best of the sequels. Gong Li is always a plus. 4 stars
10/17/07 MP Bartley The fact that Hannibal Lecter looks like George McFly is really distracting. 2 stars
6/15/07 William Goss Decent thriller that offers plenty of how he came to kill, but not enough why. 3 stars
4/22/07 Abs Crap!I actually fell asleep watching it and had to come back the next day to finish it off 1 stars
2/15/07 Ole Man Bourbon Half-assed production 3 stars
2/11/07 BlindPenguinChef A 2 hour teen sociopath revenge tale set in the aftemath of WWII... 3 stars
2/11/07 Shobert Well...it's...better than Scott's HANNIBAL. 3 stars
2/10/07 Steve Michaud Makes Ratner's "Red Dragon" look like "The Silence of the Lambs." And that's no easy feat. 1 stars
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  09-Feb-2007 (R)
  DVD: 29-May-2007

  09-Feb-2007 (18)
  DVD: 25-Jun-2007

  08-Feb-2007 (MA)

Directed by
  Peter Webber

Written by
  Thomas Harris

  Gaspard Ulliel
  Gong Li
  Rhys Ifans
  Richard Brake
  Kevin McKidd

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