Hannibal Rising Peter Webber

Hannibal Rising Peter Webber
Though visually interesting, Hannibal Rising is a rather lacklustre prequel that lags in its attempts to present the origins of one of the most memorable villains in cinematic history. As rendered by Sir Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal Lecter is certainly a fascinating character, but none of the films depicting him since The Silence of the Lambs (i.e., Hannibal, Red Dragon) have cast him in particularly compelling stories. Add Hannibal Rising to the list, as director Peter Webber and novelist/screenwriter Thomas Harris delve into the origins of Lecter, tracing his dementia to the fallout of a WWII tragedy. After a young Lecter (played by French actor Gaspard Ulliel) watches his parents die in a freak Russian tank versus German fighter plane shootout, he and his baby sister hide from the Nazis in a remote cabin in Lithuania. When a gang of plundering peasants stumble upon them, Lecter’s life is changed forever when the starving men seize his sister for sustenance. An air raid enables Lecter to escape and, as a teenager tormented by nightmares about his dead family, he locates his Japanese aunt Lady Murasaki Shikibu (Li Gong) in France, who trains him in an ancient form of swordplay, bolstering his desire to avenge the death of his sister. Shot somewhat stylishly, Hannibal Rising unfortunately doesn’t have the substance to sustain interest. While Webber and producer Martha De Laurentiis excitedly recount biting into Harris’s story and exploring Lecter’s psyche, it’s difficult to see what they’re so enthused about. The slow pacing, stilted lead performances and campy violence in Hannibal Rising make for another failed visit from the good doctor. Plus: deleted scenes, featurettes, trailers. (Alliance Atlantis) Vish Khanna (Alliance Atlantis)