January 9, 2008

Hannibal Rising (2007)

"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, prey you do not meet him, for meat you shall be to him. Taste his wroth."

Apart from having to use the subtitles because some of the dodgy fake accents were a bit difficult to understand at times, I thoroughly enjoyed this prequel.

Lady MurasakiI think a lot of girls will probably fancy the young Hannibal Lecter as played by Gaspard Ulliel even though he's French. He didn't do much for me as I preferred Li Gong (or Gong Li?) but can still see how he gave a sinister performance more worthy of the late Anthony Perkins rather than Anthony Hopkins. You shouldn't expect this film to be anything like "The Silence of the Lambs" unless you want to be very disappointed though.

I felt a bit cheated that there wasn't a nice bit of rumpy-pumpy with Lady Murasaki even though there was a lot of onscreen sexual tension evident but I suppose that wouldn't have actually helped the story along any better. In fact, there were no sex scenes whatsoever which is always a shame.

It wasn't particularly gory either (and certainly wasn't scary!) but it was a damn good story. Maybe I'm now too hardened to nastiness in horror films but I didn't find any of Hannibal's acts of revenge all that satisfying. I did still enjoy them in a "James Bond violence" kind of way though. I've never liked Rhys Ifans anyway so it pleased me enormously when he got his just desserts (and so did Hannibal!).

In fact, now that I think about it, "Hannibal Rising" really did have more in common with a James Bond action film than a horror-thriller as much of the story involved travelling to different Eastern European countries, gathering information and executing the bad guys. As you know, I love all the Soviet Russian stuff anyway so I found the setting of these scenes very interesting. It was fun to read all the signs in Cyrillic too.

I'll rate it as 7 out of 10. It really needed to be a lot gorier to be classed as a real horror film but it was still something to get your teeth into... with some fava beans and a nice chianti of course.

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