A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer. Aiding him is imprisoned forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.
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
Thomas Harris's source novel was released two months prior to the film's release. He had worked on it as well as the screenplay concurrently, for fear that a Hannibal Lecter prequel/origin story would inevitably be written without his involvement. Film producer Dino De Laurentiis said "I say to Thomas, 'If you don't do [the prequel], I will do it with someone else... I don't want to lose this franchise. And the audience wants it...' He said, 'No. I'm sorry.' And I said, 'I will do it with somebody else.' And then he said, 'Let me think about it. I will come up with an idea.'" See more »
When Hannibal makes his first kill, you see in a far off shot that he walks several steps from his victim. In the next shot, he spins and chops off the guys head and is suddenly relatively close to the victim. See more »
The Unrated Cut on DVD is over 9 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Most of the cuts were not for violence and gore, as one might expect, but rather small moments of character and plot. There are also some alternate takes used, though again rarely for violence reasons, and some shots are flipped. See more »
A thriller of origins. Not as deep as I'd hoped, but still a strong film.
Hannibal Rising is a dark and thrilling grand guignol excursion into the formative (but still plenty brutal) years of the infamous Hannibal Lecter. Considering the amount of psychological material the film would appear to have to get through, I think it definitely errs on the side of briskness. In a broad sense, many important sequences are played out and edited very quickly, and this saps them of some of their resonance, but the mood does gradually coalesce into something followers of the prior films and novels will recognise, and will be rewarded in revisiting.
The teen-adult Hannibal as played by Gaspard Ulliel is pale and handsome, and his red slash of a mouth is always very much in evidence, signalling violence and malice, and reminding us of the flesh that we know will come to pass through it. After surviving some murky carnage on the Eastern Front during World War II, he eventually seeks out remaining family in the form of his widowed aunt in France (Gong Li). He begins to open to a more regular life under her curious guidance, but the post-war environment is conducive to grudges and violence, and these are the sparks that are quickest to ignite in Lecter. Direction in this all-too-brief part of the film is some of its best, as it visually and thematically stitches together Hannibal's fascinations so that we can feel them wrap around each other - blood, violence, his own incestual leanings towards his aunt, and his childhood bond with his late sister, Mischa.
After the first murder, though, (which definitely doesn't disappoint) it's a straighter ride through many more on the path of vengeance. It all makes for a fine thriller, but development in Lecter's character beyond this point is harder to read, and Ulliel's performance offers much relish but not-so-much variation. Of the other films in the series, this one has the most in common, stylistically and in subject matter, with Hannibal. As my friend also suggested when we left the cinema, I still feel there could easily be another film out there to deal with Hannibal practising as a psychiatrist and murdering folks on the side, pre-Silence Of The Lambs. This one offers the concrete details of his origins within a thrilling story, but somehow doesn't feel as deep or profound as I'd hoped it would - and I wish it would just relax and offer some longer scenes and more ambiguous moments at times. Nevertheless, Hannibal Rising is a strong film.
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