Date Reviewed:
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9th February 2007

Summary:

This is the story of the monster Hannibal Lecter's formative years. These experiences as a child and young adult led to his remarkable contribution to the fields of medicine, music, painting and forensics. We begin in World War II at the medieval castle in Lithuania built by Dr. Lecter's forebear, Hannibal the Grim. The child Hannibal survives the horrors of the Eastern Front and escapes the grim Soviet aftermath to find refuge in France with the widow of his uncle, mysterious and beautiful Japanese descended from Lady Murasaki Shikibu, author of the Tale of Genji. Her kind and wise attentions help him understand his unbearable recollections of the war. Remembering, he finds the means to visit the outlaw predators that changed him forever as they battened on helpless during the collapse of the Eastern Front. Hannibal helps these war criminals toward self-knowledge even as we see his own nature become clear to him.

Review:

Have just this moment come back from the 4:00pm screening of Hannibal Rising and hand on my heart I have never in my life witnessed such a horrendous film such as this one.

Titanic was awful - but at least it had a sort of drunken, mawkish grace to it -Hannibal disappears up its own ass from about twenty or so minutes into the film and you cannot believe that Thomas Harris actually ahem...*cannibalised* his own book to come up with a thin gruel of a film, something that makes Plan 9 from Outer Space look like a true masterpiece. (And that has been said with the utmost of affection)

Why, oh why was Dino De Laurentis allowed to flog the franchise like a dead horse? I suppose I'm one of the very few people who have a grudging tolerance for the two mediocre films that came after Silence of the Lambs, granted they weren't great - but they were all about the most iconic cinematic figure of the 90's - and what made him tick. Well in this film - you find out in the most toecurlingly inept way possible. Dino has effectiveley destroyed the Hannibal legacy and has taken what scant credibility it had and let loose his urine all over it.

I know that Hollywood has been taking its film go-ers for granted for many, many years, but surely this ranks as the most fetid, devious, money grabbing attempt yet.

It says a lot when the best actors in the film are the small children who play Hannibal and his sister when they are 8 and three respectively. Gaspard Ulliel acts his way through Rising like he is suffering a stroke. Rhys Ifans - a normally dependeble Welsh actor hams it up like Miss Piggy on slaughterhouse night. This film had me laughing at the absurdity of plot, acting, oh crap - everything. Only one little bit (the 'art' shot) where Hannibal as a little boy is stumbling through the snow has any effect whatsoever.

Honestly when you watch it - you will think two things all of the way through the film.

1: It should have been called Carry On Lecter: Don't Lose Your Head

2:When did Lecter turn into David Copperfield?

I hope to god they never bring out another Lecter film. But - they probably will - and yes, I'll probably still go and see it. More fool me.