Hannibal Rising (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/02/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 121 mins

This stylish revenge thriller has its moments but it doesn't really justify its prequel status and it's also criminally slow and rather silly in places.

What's it all about?
The film opens with the young Hannibal Lecter (Aaron Thomas) witnessing the death of his parents at the hands of Nazis. However, things quickly gets worse when a group of wannabe Nazi thugs (including Rhys Ifans and Kevin McKidd) capture him and his sister, Mischa (Helena Lia Tachovska) and then eye them both hungrily when the food runs out.

The film then picks up the story years later, with Hannibal (now played by Gaspard Ulliel) studying medicine and living in France with his mysterious aunt (Gong Li), whilst secretly tracking down and eating the men responsible for his childhood trauma. However, a tenacious detective (Dominic West) is hot on his trail.

The Good
The film looks extremely stylish, courtesy of director Peter Webber (The Girl With The Pearl Earring) and a couple of the sequences are memorably grisly. Ulliel acquits himself well, wisely deciding against a Hopkins impersonation and opting for a silent intensity instead.

Dominic West livens things up considerably although it's a shame the film doesn't develop the promising relationship between him and Gong Li's character. However, the real star is Rhys Ifans, who launches himself into his role with wild abandon, whether he's stuffing a dead bird into his mouth or forcing topless maids to shave him whilst he takes a bath.

The Bad
The problem is that, beyond explaining the pathology behind his penchant for human flesh, the film adds very little to the Lecter story. For one thing, Hannibal is both sympathetic and motivated here, rather than flat-out evil. The film also drags considerably in the first hour and occasionally strays too far into ridiculous territory, with some laughably silly dialogue.

Worth seeing?
This is watchable enough as a grisly revenge thriller but it would have worked better without the Lecter connection.

Film Trailer

Hannibal Rising (18)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 12:26

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