Feb. 7, 2007 Hannibal Lecter is at it again, alas. Going back some, "Hannibal Rising" traces the young cannibal's childhood and the strokes of fate that made him the mesmerizing monster he grew up to be.
Thomas Harris wrote the book, and he wrote this screenplay. So, he has no one to blame but himself, if the critics don't greet this new film with their usual enthusiasm for Lecter's peccadilloes (or at least the filming of them).
The film isn't due to be released in the states until Friday. On the one hand, this puts the V.I. on the cutting edge a day ahead of things nationwide; on the other hand, reviews are hard to come by before the film's official stateside release.
So we'll go with what we've got.
OK, here's the plot: The story starts in Eastern Europe after World War II, as the young Hannibal (Aaron Thomas) witnesses the slaughter of his family at the hands of war criminals. He is left to care for his younger sister, and without means of support, they are forced to live in a Soviet orphanage.
He flees to Paris to find an uncle, who, as it turns out, has died. However, his Japanese widow, Lady Murasaki (Gong Li), welcomes him. But even her kindness can't soothe his wounds. He attends medical school, where he learns the skills that will serve him well. Yahoo Movies says, "This quest will ignite an insatiable lust within a serial killer who was not born, but made." Hmm.
Well, the rest of the film traces the adult Hannibal (Gaspard Ulliel) as he gets his feet wet in his chosen grim career.
The earlier Lecter movies have won acclaim; "Silence of the Lambs" the 1991 blockbuster starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster won five Oscars: best actor, actress, screenplay, director, and picture. Hopkins also starred in "Hannibal" and "Red Dragon," which were well received.
Hopkins has not lent his talents to the current offering, which Rotten Tomatoes give one tomato.
All that said, here's a few comments. Total Film.com says, "Watching Gaspard Ulliels bland young cannibal slice 'n' dice his way through Rhys Ifans' band of war crimes to the mounting disquiet of his Japanese auntie, you cant help thinking Anthony Hopkins would eat this kid for breakfast."
Perhaps a user comment on International Movie Data Base (IMBD) site, best sums it up. It sure gets the spirit of the thing: "All in all, a creepy, mesmerizing, scary, and hypnotic revenge story that has a very dark tone to it, and many gruesome and unsettling deaths. I loved it."
The film is directed by Peter Webber and runs 117 minutes. Not surprisingly, it's rated R for strong grisly violent content and some language/sexual references.
It starts Thursday at Market Square East.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.