Hannibal Rising (2007)



Critic Consensus: Hannibal Rising reduces the horror icon to a collection of dime-store psychological traits.

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Curious filmgoers looking to get better acquainted with the silver screen's most notorious cannibalistic serial killer are sure to get their fair share of shocks and thrills as director Peter Webber teams with author Thomas Harris to explore the early life of well-read psychopath Hannibal Lecter. Based on author Harris' gruesome novel of the same name, Hannibal Rising travels back in time to World War II-era Lithuania, where an impressionable, well-to-do young boy named Hannibal (Gaspard Ulliel) was forced to watch helplessly as his family was massacred and his young sister suffered a terrifying fate at the hands of desperate, famished soldiers. After seeking temporary shelter at the Soviet orphanage that was once his family's home, Hannibal later flees to Paris in search of his long-lost uncle. Though his uncle has passed away, his uncle's beautiful Japanese widow, Lady Murasaki (Gong Li), warmly accepts the frightened orphan into her home. But even the love and kindness of this generous stranger isn't enough to calm the raging storm that is brewing inside this troubled young boy. Plagued by nightmares and determined to seek vengeance on the murderous war criminals who brutalized his family, the profoundly disturbed but academically gifted Hannibal enrolls in medical school in order to hone the skills that will allow him to exact horrific justice.
R (for strong grisly violent content and some language/sexual references)
Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
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Gaspard Ulliel
as Hannibal Lecter
Li Gong
as Lady Murasaki
Rhys Ifans
as Grutas
Dominic West
as Inspector Popil
Kevin Mckidd
as Kolnas
Richard Brake
as Dortlich
Ivan Marevich
as Grentz
Goran Kostic
as Pot Watcher
Charles Maquignon
as Paul the Butcher
Richard Leaf
as Father Lecter
Ingeborga Dapkunaite
as Mother Lecter
Ingeborga Dapkunayte
as Mother Lecter
Martin Hub
as Lothar
Joerg Stadler
as Berndt
Aaran Thomas
as Hannibal (8 Years)
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Critic Reviews for Hannibal Rising

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (37)

Thomas Harris is now hoodwinked by his creation's faux pedigree. He's scripted him a ridiculously Eurotrashy upbringing, one so silly, it'll remind you of Dr. Evil's memory-tripping: "Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons..."

Full Review… | February 16, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Hannibal Rising is basically a Steven Seagal vigilante movie with a hero who eats the people he kills. At least it's ecofriendly.

Full Review… | February 12, 2007
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

In the finest tradition of TV newsmagazines, Hannibal Lecter's penchant for serial murder turns out to be the result of a traumatic childhood.

Full Review… | February 12, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

What this nasty, brutish movie left me feeling was ashamed to be American. First of all: As a folk archetype, a supervillain for our times, this is the best we can come up with? A vaguely Eurotrash schoolboy who eats people's cheeks?

Full Review… | February 9, 2007
Top Critic

Tilting his elegantly aquiline features downward while hoisting one eyebrow over a dark orb, curling his lips with Grinchian deliberation, he seems to be determined to kill people on the strength of his cologne alone.

Full Review… | February 9, 2007
Toronto Star
Top Critic

If they were going to show how he got to be the brilliant, charming, exquisitely cultured, uh, vicious cannibal psychopath -- couldn't they have come up with something more interesting?

Full Review… | February 9, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Hannibal Rising

Not only an unnecessary prequel but also terribly written: overlong, filled with clichés and ridiculous dialogue, and failing to depict in a believable way the character's evolution to become a monster. Even worse, Gaspard Ulliel is absolutely awful.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

A well made film with great locations, that explains a little about how Hannibal became to be what he is in The silence of the lambs. However I feel a lot is still unexplained and wouldn't be surprised if a further film takes us right up to date with his story, to the point of him being in prison at the start of The silence of the lambs. Still better than Hannibal though.

Dean King
Dean King

Super Reviewer


Harris did the screenplay of his own book, so he has no-one but himself to blame in that regard; however, the blame only partly lies with the script - the acting is very uneven and the casting in some cases abyssmal (Murisaka is attrocious - reduced to "Oh Hannibal" - showing no depth or nuance). Much more should have been made of who she was and how she relates to the young Hannibal, but alas. There were also attempts made to show that the Inspector was sympathetec, but too little, too late - I feel that to have gone in depth into those areas would have made a far different, and for my money, a better film, but some studio exec probably pushed for a more action type thriller. As a thriller there is some small merit here - the way in which Hannibal blithely walks right into danger; he's either so warped by his traumatic experience or so bent for revenge that he feels invincible or he simply doesn't care. There are some nice cinematic elements, especially the beginning scenes with the war going on all around the chateau, but in the end I felt unfulfilled (pun intended) - perhaps a nice chianti.... ah never mind.

paul sandberg
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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