Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: Hannibal Rising.

Right off the bat I wish to inform HorrorScope readers that I have not yet read the novelization by Thomas Harris. This point of view will be purely seen through the lens of the celluloid version - an adaptation that went well beyond my pre-conceived notions.

Of course, by now, many of you have either seen it or read other evaluations , or have imbibed an inkling of the plot through the advertising campaign. But let's re-hash that particular skillet of information, anyhow: Hannibal Rising tells of the formative years of Hannibal Lectar's life before we first meet him in Red Dragon. With the Nazi's retreating from the Russians at the end of World War Two, Hannibal and his sister Mischa (Lithuanians) are quickly orphaned after their parents are caught in the cross-fire at a hunting lodge. Thereafter they are alone with nothing but the elements and wolves; soon a company of Lithuanian collaborators seek shelter in the same hostel; they, too, have nothing to eat - and soon turn their starving eyes upon the innocents who share their space -

Journeying with Hannibal Lecter as he finds a sliver of long-lost oriental family , exploring his character as she teachers him the ways of her warrior ancestors, I was completely taken in. Unknown French actor Gaspard Ulliel playing Hannibal was totally convincing, attractive and dark in his pursuit for retribution. I was wary that my allegiance would lie with Hannibal; (the audience would root for him, in other words), and this happened to a certain extent. But it was still all too easy to see the monster inside; the fiend that replaced the boy who died out in the snow an adolescent.

There are several supporting roles that string the film together, most notably Dominic West who plays an almost sympathetic inspector on the trail of Hannibal's blood-letting. Also Li Gong as Lady Murasaki Shikibu, another who has lost everything and protects Hannibal like a dangerous but elegant snake.

Condensed and layered like a jigsaw puzzle, mystical and ambitious, by and large television Director Peter Webber has pulled off a stylish prologue that obviously had an insurmountable amount of pressure attached. Many pundits out there will probably disagree, as it seems fashionable to smear such polarizing popularity and one has to ask the motives behind these pessimists. For this truly is a film that has some bite -

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