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Hannibal Rising

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United Kingdom, Czech Republic, France · 2007
Rated R · 2h 1m
Director Peter Webber
Starring Gaspard Ulliel, Aaran Thomas, Gong Li, Dominic West
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller, Horror

The story of the early, murderous roots of the cannibalistic killer, Hannibal Lecter – from his hard-scrabble Lithuanian childhood, where he witnesses the repulsive lengths to which hungry soldiers will go to satiate themselves, through his sojourn in France, where as a med student he hones his appetite for the kill.

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What are critics saying?


Chicago Tribune by

A sort-of combination of "Lambs," "Batman Begins" and "The Joy of Cooking," Hannibal Rising ostensibly dramatizes the atrocities that turned Hannibal Lecter from loving child to serial killer. But this film is larded up with so many food references that I'm undecided whether this story belongs in a film compendium or a recipe file.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

The funniest movie of the year - a true laugh riot. Viewers will be holding their sides to contain the laughter. Forget Borat - if you're looking for something hilarious, this is the movie to see. What's that? It's not supposed to be a comedy. Oops.


The New York Times by Jeannette Catsoulis

Silly, slack and unforgivably tedious, Thomas Harris's screenplay is padded with interminable flashbacks and a bombastic score that telegraphs every emotion Hannibal represses. And there are a lot of them.


Empire by Kim Newman

Gong Li is welcome as Hannibal's Japanese aunt-in-law/mentor, Gaspard Ulliel isn't a bad young Lecter and Webber's direction is intermittently classy -- but this is a footnote rather than a film.


The Hollywood Reporter by Michael Rechtshaffen

It's all quite a mess, with awkward performances, worse dialogue and a painfully protracted running time conspiring against any chance of enjoyment, even in a so-bad-it's-good guilty pleasure way.


Christian Science Monitor by Peter Rainer

Thomas Harris adapted his own bestseller and Peter Webber, who previously directed "Girl with a Pearl Earring," had the unenviable task of trying to give this glop, which is too gruesome to be campy, a high gloss. It should be called Man With a Severed Head.


Washington Post by Stephen Hunter

The movie streamlines much of Harris's book. It's a shame, because it results in the movie's fundamental flaw -- the one-dimensionality of Hannibal.

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