Review: Hannibal Rising

The early stages in the life of one Hannibal Lecter (Gaspard Ulliel), who tragically sees his parents killed by a Nazi warplane in 1944. He is left to look after himself and his beloved sister until some evil Lithuanian Nazi collaborators (led by the surprisingly sinister-looking Rhys Ifans) come along, rather hungry and...let’s just say subsequent events help make Hannibal the sicko we would all come to know. Eight years later he locates his only living relative, his uncle’s Japanese widow (Gong Li!), whom he sorta kinda fancies in France, whilst secretly tracking down the Nazi sickos who wronged his beloved sister all those years ago. Dominic West plays a French detective not-so hot on Hannibal’s trail.

The critics made this 2007 Peter Webber (“Girl With a Pearl Earring”) film version of the Thomas Harris novel (scripted by the author himself) seem like one of the worst crimes committed against good cinema, and one of the dullest films ever made. I think it’s far too outrageous and amusing for either of those distinctions. It’s a terrible film, but for the most part, an amusing one...just for all the wrong reasons. Wanna see Hannibal train in the martial arts? No? Really? Oh, well, there’s just no pleasing some people. Speaking of wrong, leading man Ulliel looks and acts NOTHING like Anthony Hopkins, nor Hannibal Lecter for that matter. Ifans steals it, in a lip-smacking part. Hhe at least seems to know he’s making kaka and plays the role with appreciated abandon that at least provides some entertainment. The rest of the cast flounders. What the hell is Gong Li doing in this film? Nothing admirable, I assure you.

I’d almost recommend seeing the film simply because of how amazingly overblown and weird it all is. Almost. It’s far less repugnant than “Hannibal”, if you ask me, which I found not only needlessly excessive, entirely stupid and badly acted (by a pretty big name cast), but mostly dull. You’ll pretty much hate this film, you’ll want to stop watching it...but you just won’t be able to help yourself, it’s just too damn inexplicable to dismiss. In years to come, people might just come back to this one and appreciate its stupidity as much as I did. At least it’s something. Not every film can claim even that much!

Rating: D+


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