Hannibal Rising is a 2007 British/Czech/French/Italian thriller film, the fifth film to feature Dr. Hannibal Lecter. It is a prequel to Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal. The film is an adaptation of Thomas Harris' 2006 novel of the same name and tells the story of Lecter's evolution into the infamous serial killer of the previous films and books.
The film was directed by Peter Webber from a screenplay by Harris, and was filmed in Barrandov Studios in Prague. It was produced by the Dino De Laurentiis Company and was released on February 9, 2007. Theatrical distribution in the United States was handled by The Weinstein Company and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The DVD was released on May 29, 2007.
In 1944, Lecter (Aaran Thomas) is eight years old, the scion of an aristocratic family, living in the Lithuanian countryside. In the closing days of World War II Lecter, his younger sister, Mischa (Helena-Lia Tachovska), and his parents escape to the family's hunting lodge in the woods to elude the retreating German troops. Back at Lecter Castle, six Lithuanian militiamen (Rhys Ifans, Richard Blake, Ivan Marevich, Kevin McKidd, Stephen Martin Walters, and Goran Kostic) request to join the Waffen-SS. The SS commander orders them to kill the Lecters'Jewish cook, to which they gleefully comply.
A Soviet tank crew stop at the Lecters' lodge looking for water, and forces everyone out of the house. However, the tank is then spotted by a German Stuka bomber, which sparks a firefight. The bomber is shot down by the tank, but subsequently crashes into it, and the ensuing explosion kills everyone, except Hannibal and Mischa.
The SS militiamen then loot Lecter Castle, but the impending Russian advance forces them to hide out in the woods, where they locate the Lecter lodge. Finding no other food in the bitterly cold Baltic winter, they cannibalize Mischa right in front of her brother, who escapes and is found by Soviet soldiers.
Eight years later, Lecter once again lives in Lecter Castle, which has been turned into a Soviet-run orphanage, rendered mute by his childhood trauma. One evening, Lecter escapes from the castle orphanage to Paris to live with his widowed aunt, the Lady Murasaki. She gets him to speak and teaches him the arts of flower arrangement, martial arts, and ancestor worship.
At a local market, a butcher makes a rude and racist remark about Lady Murasaki, and Lecter then attacks him. Later, while the butcher is fishing, Lecter requests an apology; when the butcher refuses, Lecter slices the butcher's stomach, arm, and back with a katana, then decapitates him. Later that evening, the family cook tells Lecter that the most delicious part of the fish he took from the butcher is the cheeks, unwittingly helping develop part of Lecter's"signature" as a serial killer. That same evening, he is questioned about the butcher's murder by Inspector Popil, a French detective who had also lost his family during the war. While Lecter is being interrogated at police headquarters, Lady Murasaki places the butcher's head outside police headquarters with a Swastika carved into his forehead; Lecter is soon released.
Eventually, Lecter becomes the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. He receives a working scholarship, where he is given a job preparing cadavers. One day, Lecter witnesses a condemned war criminal receiving a sodium thiopental injection to force him to recall details about his crimes. In an attempt to recall the names of those responsible for his sister's death, Lecter injects himself with the solution while listening to Glenn Gould's recording of the Goldberg Variations (The same music is also heard in Silence of the Lambs). His subsequent flashback reveals that Pot Watcher had the dogtags of the other deserters when he was killed as the Russians bombed the lodge. Lecter reasons that the dogtags should still be in the ruins of the lodge.
Lecter then returns to Lithuania in search of the dogtags, as well as his sister's remains. While crossing the Soviet border, he draws the attention of Dortlich, who is now a Soviet border patrol officer. Lecter excavates the ruins of the lodge where his family died, and also unearths the dogtags of the group of deserters who had killed his sister. Dortlich attempts to kill him, but Lecter gets the upper hand and incapacitates him. After he buries Mischa's remains, Lecter tortures Dortlich into revealing the whereabouts of the rest of his gang. When he refuses to reveal enough details, Lecter decapitates Dortlich with a horse-drawn pulley. Later, the Soviet police arrive on the scene, only to discover Dortlich's head, with its cheeks carved off, apparently made into a brochette.
Lecter then visits Kolnas' restaurant in Fontainebleau. He finds Kolnas's young daughter, whom he notices is wearing Mischa's bracelet. He then gives her Kolnas' dogtag. Kolnas enters the restaurant, but Lady Murasaki persuades Lecter not to kill him, for the sake of Kolnas' children. Dortlich's murder, along with Kolnas' dogtag, puts the rest of the group in alert. Grutas, now a sex trafficker, dispatches a second member of the group, Zigmas Milko, to kill Lecter. Milko sneaks into Lecter's laboratory at night with a gun, but Lecter senses his presence and knocks him out with an injection. Just as Popil is entering the lab, Lecter locks Milko in the cadaver tank and leaves him to drown in theembalming fluid. Popil questions Lecter about Dortlich's murder, but is again unable to establish Lecter's guilt. Popil then tries to dissuade him from hunting the gang and offers to let him go free if he helps locate Grutas. After Lecter leaves, Popil remarks to his assistant that Lecter lost all of his humanity when Mischa died, and has become "something there isn't a word for".
Lady Murasaki begs Lecter not to complete his revenge, but Lecter says that he made a promise to Mischa. Lecter then sets up a time bomb in Grutas' home, and attacks him in the bath. However, a maid alerts Grutas' bodyguards, who then rush in. Just as Grutas' bodyguards are about to kill him, Lecter's time bomb goes off, and he escapes.
Grutas kidnaps Lady Murasaki and calls Lecter, using her as bait. Lecter recognizes the sounds of Kolnas' ortolans from his restaurant in the background. Lecter goes there and threatens Kolnas' children, forcing him to give up the location of Grutas' boat. Lecter then says he will leave Kolnas alone for the sake of his family and places his gun on the hot stove. As Kolnas goes for the gun, Lecter impales him through the head with his tantō. He then hides the tantō behind his back.
Lecter goes to the houseboat. Just as he is about to untie Lady Murasaki, Grutas shoots him in the back. Grutas then proceeds to molestLady Murasaki. Lecter takes out the tantō, which was broken by the force of the bullet, and slashes Grutas' Achilles tendons with it, crippling him. In a final confrontation, Grutas claims that Lecter too had consumed his sister in broth fed to him by the deserters, and he was killing them to keep this fact secret. Enraged, Lecter carves his sister's initial, M, into Grutas's chest. Lady Murasaki flees from him in horror even after he tells her that he loves her. As she leaves, Lecter bites off Grutas' cheeks. The houseboat is then incinerated, but Lecter, assumed to be dead, emerges from the woods. The film then concludes with Lecter hunting down the last member of the group, Grentz, in Canada; after killing him, Lecter moves to the United States to begin a new life.
|Gaspard Ulliel||Hannibal Lecter|
|Gong Li||Lady Murasaki Shikibu|
|Dominic West||Inspector Pascal Popil|
|Rhys Ifans||Vladis Grutas|
|Helena-Lia Tachovska||Mischa Lecter|
|Kevin McKidd||Petras Kolnas|
|Richard Brake||Enrikas Dortlich|
|Stephen Martin Walters||Zigmas Milko|
|Ivan Marevich||Bronys Grentz|
|Charles Maquignon||Paul Momund|
|Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė||Mrs. Lecter|
|Beata Ben Ammar||Madam Kolnas|
|Aaran Thomas||Young Hannibal Lecter|
|Goran Kostic||Pot Watcher|
|Robbie Kay||Robert Kay, Kolnas's Son|
Hannibal Rising received a generally negative critical reception, and did not fare as well as the previous three films in the series at the box office. It currently has a rating of 15% "Rotten" on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes, with a 7% Cream of the Crop rating. It also received a Metascore of 35 ("Generally negative reviews") on Metacritic. The film opened at #2 in the United States with $13.4 million, one-third of the $33.7 million opening of Norbit which was released during the same week as Hannibal Rising. In its second week of release,Hannibal Rising dropped to #7 at the U.S. box office, making $5.5 million, a 59% drop from the previous week. It dropped out of the top 10 U.S. grossing films in its third week of release at #13 with $1,706,165 in revenue, a 69% drop from the previous week. After a theatrical release of 91 days, the final total domestic gross of the film was $27,669,725, which is less than the opening weekend gross of both Hannibaland Red Dragon ($58,003,121 and $36,540,945, respectively).