David F. from GAITHERSBURG, MD Reviewed on 9/30/2009...
This is a FANTASTIC movie...not your typical horror flick. It's equal parts War epic and suspense thriller. Gives you the back story how Hannibal Lector came to be. Excelent craftsmanship, cinematography, acting, casting...and they spared no expense A very well made movie. Not as scary as you might expect, but monsterous just the same. Time flys during this one, awesome!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Erick W. from TOOELE, UT Reviewed on 10/2/2008...
very good movie, sheds light in a dark and gritty way to the character of Hannibal Lecter.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
QUITE THE PLEASANT SURPRISE
Movie Buff | Fremont, CA USA | 02/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well I must admit I was going in to this movie with little expectations. I'm a big fan of the other 3, 4 if you want to add Manhunter in there. My first concern was someone other than Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal will be a letdown. Gaspard Ulliel is not Hopkins but he won me over. He did a very respectable job. I'd never heard of him before and am now very impressed. Gong Li was very good as well. Overall the acting was better than expected.
I won't go into the plot since I trust everyone knows it by now. Going back to see how Hannibal got his start was very interesting. I'm a horror film fan and love blood and gore but to this movies credit it did not need the blood and gore. By my standards it was moderately gruesome, but I was so intrigued by the story I wasn't dissapointed at all. The movie was beautifully filmed.
Here's how I would rate all the movies so you can gage by my ratings how you might like Hannibal Rising. I rate my movies personally on a scale of 0 to 10.
Manhunter 6 Silence of the Lambs 10 Hannibal 9 Red Dragon 7 Hannibal Rising 9
I was truly thrilled with this movie and look forward to more, hopefully with Gaspard Ulliel.
The best since SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
William L. Ham | 02/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just went and saw this movie. This movie is awesome. It really portrays the events that gave him the fuel he needed to become what he is. The acting was very well done. The best part is that they didn't ruin the movie with special effects. To many horror movies these days depend on the use of blood to provide the effect they are hoping to accomplish with the audience. This is not the case in Hannibal Rising. They shot it old school which is what was called for since it took place long ago. The story is what really makes this movie. If you love this series you must rush and see this now. Like I said its basically tied with Silence of the lambs in my opinion. WELL DONE."
Revenge is Best Served with Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 02/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Hannibal Rising" is one of the darkest, most heavy-handed films I've ever seen. Yet I absolutely loved it. Even I don't understand why: the circumstances of the plot are ugly, focusing on the deepest, most disturbed recesses of the mind; a majority of the characters are malicious, having little if any regard for humanity; the visuals are more than a little difficult to watch, with disturbing scenes of torture and murder. Such unpleasant material doesn't easily make for an engrossing experience. Nonetheless, I found myself utterly fascinated, unable to avert my eyes from the screen. This is an engaging, shocking, beautifully photographed story of how the quest for vengeance can turn a hurt soul into a monster.
Such a person is Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic criminal mastermind made famous by Anthony Hopkins in 1991's "The Silence of the Lambs." This new film chronicles Lecter's early descent into madness, beginning in 1944 with the deaths of his mother, father, and sister in war torn Lithuania (he was only a child then, no more than eight). While his parents were merely shot to death, his baby sister, Mischa (Helena Lia Tachovska), was targeted by a group of German soldiers using the Lecter family lodge as a hideout. Because of the lodge's remoteness, and because it's the dead of winter, the soldiers quickly discover that food is scarce. "If we want to live," says Vladis Grutas (Rhys Ifans) as he savagely eats a puny rabbit, "we must eat!" That's when they all look over at the children, specifically at Mischa.
The story then flashes forward eight years. Lecter is now a teenager (Gespard Ulliel), living in an orphanage that was once his family's castle. How tragic: what was once his home is now strictly controlled housing for hundreds of young men. As one might expect, he's not exactly popular among the other boys, especially since he remains silent during the day and screams every night as he dreams of his sister's death. There's some clever manipulation at work here; his painful childhood almost forces us to feel sympathy for the young Hannibal Lecter, even though we know he will eventually become a murderous lunatic. Is he truly insane, like the previous films would lead you to believe, or is he the unfortunate result of humanity's cruelty?
No one can definitely answer those questions. All one can do is witness Lecter spiraling out of control, sinking further and further into the depths of hate. At some point, he promises his sister that he will find her murderers and make them pay. Such is the way with revenge: it clouds judgment, reason, and morality, and it leaves a void that cannot be filled, no matter what. Lecter fell victim to such a void as a child, which serves as his driving force for the rest of the film. He devises a plan to escape the orphanage. He then leaves for France and meets his Japanese aunt, Lady Murasaki Shikibu (Gong Li). They immediately bond despite his initial reluctance to speak. The bond is made stronger as he watches her pray to her ancestors; she bows in front of her father's samurai armor, seeking strength and courage.
We know Lecter is seeking the same thing, especially since an emotional eruption is fast approaching. It finally arrives when he brutally murders a butcher using Murasaki's samurai sword. The butcher was intentionally crafted to be a despicable man; not only did he debase Murasaki, he had also aided the German's in transporting and exterminating Jews during the war. I can't say I felt sorry for him, which I suppose was the intended effect. The scene also establishes Lecter as a cold, calculating psychopath, a personality that's rarely indicative of a sympathetic character. But keep in mind that his family was needlessly murdered; who wouldn't be emotionally scarred by such a dark turn of events? I continuously questioned how I was supposed to feel about this character, even after he enrolls in a prestigious medical school in Paris. His main task, interestingly enough, is preparing cadavers for examination and experimentation.
The story's morbidity increases dramatically as Lecter tracks down the German soldiers responsible for his sister's death. Unfortunately, executing his plan will not be as easy as he thought; hot on his trail is Inspector Popil (Dominic West), in charge of capturing and incarcerating war criminals. To some extent, he understands Lecter's pain. This is because he, too, lost family during the war. However, he's also a man of the law, and he refuses to let Lecter's vendetta against a group of soldiers slip through the cracks. The situation is also hard on Murasaki; her family was killed when Hiroshima was bombed. She finds herself torn between loving her nephew and desiring for inner peace.
But for Lecter, absolutely everything is clear-cut; all he has left is the need for revenge, something that can never be alleviated even after the wrongdoers are caught. Having his way with the German soldiers makes for some uncomfortable moments, especially since they involve methods of torture that are best left unmentioned. I suppose you can understand why some will be turned off by this movie; as I've already said, it's a dark, dark story of cruelty, obsession, and pain. Writing this review still hasn't helped me to understand why I enjoyed "Hannibal Rising" so much. Maybe it's because I have a deeper understanding of a previously unknown character. True, Hannibal Lecter would go on to do terrible things. Still, I no longer view him as a loathsome monster. I now view him as a pitiable monster, made evil because of a deplorable environment."
Ron | Jersey | 06/10/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Since this one bombed so badly at the box office I didn't have much hope for it. After watching it though, it is not that bad. It is certainly no Silence of the Lambs or Red Dragon, but it was interesting. The movie is very dark. Most of the characters have very dark sides. Though I do have to say that everyone has a reason for their actions which makes it more realistic. Hopkins is sorely missed, but even the best makeup can't make him 40 years younger to play himself in his early 20's. The young actor playing young Hannibal is solid and certainly creepy, he also came across a bit flat. The story is interesting on how Hannibal became the monster he is. I think the aunt part is not really necessary and muddles things somewhat. Overall I think this is worth watching if you are a fan of Hannibal, but on its' own it is merely so so."
LadyLestat | Birmingham, Alabama United States | 03/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Surprisingly, I actually liked this movie. Don't get me wrong it's not something I care to see over and over again, but I think it set the basis for Hannibal Lector fairly. Sometimes, it does kinda get on my nerves that they'll make a movie with 30 different sequels, and then try to take you back to the beginning and show you how it all started. With that being said, some of them are really good, and this is one. I think people are unfairly comparing Gaspard Ulliel to Anthony Hopkins when really there should be no comparison. Gaspard is playing a much younger Hannibal who hasn't grown in age yet, and it's his job to set the stage for the story we all know and love. Which he did do it justice, I might add. I guess since he's an unknown face to the American audience, and he's just now being introduced into a movie portraying a character of this magnitude the comparions were envitable. At any rate, Anthony Hopkin's portrayal of Hannibal actually takes place many years later when he's much older which should be taken into account. What I like about this movie is that even though cannabalism is a morbid, nasty, and extremely disgusting thought for a sane person. I'm glad to say that's really not the way they portrayed it in this movie. It wasn't done deliberately with the intention of making the audience puke by showing us Hannibal actually eating somebody's flesh, eyeballs, or brains out of their head while they're still alive. It also wasn't way over the top with the blood and gore for no reason like most films these days. I guess that's why a lot of people complain that it's boring, because they didn't get to see somebody's guts or intestines exposed. This movie shows you how Hannibal became the psychological, cannabalistic, monster that he is today. They show you that he's a regular human being that was driven to cannabalism through hurt and the need for revenge after his little sister was eaten by a bunch of savages. I feel a little guilty, but I actually found myself rooting for Hannibal to get his revenge which disturbed me a little bit. Needless to say, I liked it, and I think that the "Silence of the Lambs" as well as the "Manhunter" and "Red Dragon" fans owe it to themselves to see this movie. At least, if their interested in how Hannibal became the cannibal."