See little Lecter. See liitle Lecter eat people.

Steven Berger

Something in our nature makes us want to sympathize with Hannibal – and it’s a lot easier now that he’s young and attractive. Maybe he does go a bit overboard with the eating people thing. We’ll let it slide. In Hannibal Rising, it’s an eye for an eye, or at least a cheek.

The film opens with the aristocratic Lecter family fleeing their Lithuanian castle to a rural cabin. It’s 1944, and the war hits 11-year-old Hannibal hard. A band of Lithuanian looters takes Hannibal and his younger sister Mischa hostage, and while holed up in the freezing cabin, hunger settles in. Little Lecter bears the fork.

Fast forward eight years, and the mute teenage Hannibal lives in an orphanage, still haunted by his sister’s murder. He escapes to France to live with his aunt, begins medical training and seeks vengeance on the faces he can’t forgive.

Hannibal may too easily cut down (and up) his enemies, as the group is pretty thickheaded and takes him rather lightly. The story moves from revenge murder to revenge murder, and though fairly void of suspense, it remains compelling.

There really isn’t a progression from man to monster. He’s crazy the second he makes the eight-year hop, and doesn’t blink twice when covered in blood. Or tasting it.

“Rising” as a modifier, then, is a little misleading. “Rose” is more appropriate. A quick bathroom break might be just long enough to miss the bulk of the character development.

The World War II prologue is a grim backdrop, and the ominous reality of life on the Eastern Front is well-executed. The film is a pleasure to look at, even when the dialogue gets sloppy.

If you enjoy your Hannibal caged and deranged, Hannibal Rising isn’t going to give you what you want – or bother explaining why it gives you what it does. If you can settle for just deranged, though, you’ve found the right place. Bon app