Spirk Suggests: Hannibal Rising

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 15, 2007 in Horror |

Hannibal Rising

Thomas Harris returns with the fourth part of the Hannibal Lecter story this time with a Prequal aptly named Hannibal Rising. The Author who penned Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal chose this time to take us back to Lithuania (and later to Paris) during World War II. There we see a young Hannibal (Aaron Thomas) and his little sister Mishca (Helena Lia Tachovska) are running from their castle home with their family into the woods to hide from the approaching Russians from the East and Germans from the West.

Things don’t go well and soon young Hannibal and Mischa find themselves alone and in the clutches of 6 rather evil men who are traitors to the Germans and are hiding from both them and the Russians. These men hold Hannibal and Mischa captive and plan to use them to show they are ‘taking care’ of them should a patrol stop by the cabin. One problem arises almost and becomes grave very quickly. There is no food and the men are starving.

From that point on the film switches to an older Hannibal (Gaspard Ulliel) and his escape from the orphanage to France where he seeks out the last family he has. Once he arrives there he discovers that the uncle he sought has died and the only remaining member of his family is Lady Miruasaki (Gong Li), his late Uncle’s wife.

The film unfolds as Hannibal begins to show signs of the monster he is to become. The slaughter of the Butcher Paul Mummond is the first step as Hannibal fights to regain the memories of his youth and discover exactly what it was that happened to Mischa in that cold Lithuanian cabin.

Hounding Hannibal’s every move is a war crimes inspector named Popil (Dominic West). As Hannibal’s memory returns and he discovers the identities of the men who killed his sister the inspector seems to be always just one step behind. He takes Hannibal into custody on a couple of occasions but can prove nothing so is forced to let him go. It becomes a cat and mouse game between the two of them as the movie goes on.

All in all it was an enjoyable movie but it fell a bit flat in comparison to the novel that came out a couple of months ago. Another thing that has changed considerably since Silence of the Lambs is the typecast of Hannibal Lecter. Gone is the monster who kills just to kill. In his place stands a vengeful man driven to madness by the haunting of his sister’s death. The charm is still there and Gaspard Ulliel did a magnificent job taking on the role but I can understand why so many people did not like the film. I however, am not one of them. I found it to be enjoyable and well worth watching. I recommend it to fans of the genre for what it is, a useful back story to help bridge the gap and attempt to explain why Hannibal Lecter is what he is. But don’t count on it to explain everything. There are plenty of unanswered questions into the mystery of Hannibal Lecter.

Richard Carroll is an avid movie viewer and all around fanboy. You can probably find him at his computer playing Guild Wars when not watching,writing, reading or roleplaying something (Oh and then there’s the real world and work). Check out some of his written works at www.ficofthedead.com. A website in need of a webmaster to ensure it gets updated. (Any takers? Anyone? *grins*)

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