Mischa and Hannibal, baby brother and sister, are inseparable; it is their love for each other that ties their bond. Their companionship is forever binding, until, with their family, while hiding from the Nazi war machine a twisted set of circumstance sets the pace for a most vicious attack on the future of one Hannibal Lecter for the sworn vengeance for the brutal killing of his baby sister. Years later, we find Hannibal, the teenager, setting up in Paris, and living with his aunt Lady Murasaki Shikibu and studying at medical school here he finds his forte. Still searching for his sister's murderers, still bitter and still ever hopeful of satisfying his desire for retribution. This chance arrives, and soon we are to learn that for a pound of flesh lost a pound of flesh must be repaid. This is the horrific tale of justice and honor, a young man's growing pains that will have the guilty paying with more than just flesh and bone. This is the up and rising tale of the young Hannibal, ... Written by
As a fan of all the Hannibal Lector films, I was expecting another film I'd enjoy and thinking this would be a terrific character study of man who is one of the most famous fictional killers of all time. What I got instead was more of a simple revenge story than the character study. Oh, yeah, we do learn some background of the famous "Dr. Lector," but not enough of what really made him the weird combination of intellectual and cannibal.
Although portraying and having someone in the film label the young adult as "monster," the filmmakers (actually, author Thomas Harris) really made him more of a sympathetic character instead. They took the easiest road, out, too, making an easy target the villains: the Nazis. How often has Hollywood done that, even today 60 years after the conclusion of WWII.
What we get is a revenge story of how Lector went from a child captive of the Nazis for a short time, to a medical student in Paris and how he tracked down the Nazis who killed the rest of his family. Of particular incentive to him was the avenging of his sister's death. There is a neat little twist at the ending regarding that but I go into that for spoiler reasons.
The best part of the film was the absolutely gorgeous cinematography. This is beautifully filmed, first frame to last. The story is much better in the second half than the first, which has a few parts in which it lags. I'm not quite sure about the credibility of having an Asian aunt raise him, but I also enjoy seeing actress Gong Li. Her relationship with young Hannibal is a strange one.
Gaspard Ulliel as Hannibal was okay but certainly not as riveting in the role as the mature Anthony Hopkins was in his three performances. Why a young French actor, who has all the accents that Hopkins doesn't have, would play the role, I don't know.
Overall, I'm glad I saw it but, unlike the three other Hopkins' "Lector films," this is one I won't add to my movie collection. However, at least I learned what the most tasty part of the human anatomy is, not that I would ever put that information to use!
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