Hannibal Rising tells the story of the young Hannibal Lecter (Gaspard Ulliel) and how he became the chilling monster portrayed in The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Red Dragon.
The tale begins in Nazi occupied Europe where Hannibal’s family are on the run. They flee their huge castle in France and go into hiding. They are later discovered and his parents are brutally killed before his very eyes, leaving him to look after his beloved younger sister. Lecter does everything he can to protect his sister and they hide out in the house where his parents perished.
However, they are soon disturbed by looters who leave them alone to start with, but as hunger and desperation set in, they start to look at the children strangely. They tease and torment them, steal their possessions, and eventually, after noticing little Mischa’s cough drag her away from her beloved brother. He never sees her again – and we don’t find out until later what the monstrous criminals did to her.
We next see Hannibal in an orphanage founded in the very castle in which he was brought up – bringing back memories of his parents and sister and making a normal life impossible. Imprisoned in his head by the very monstrosities he has witnessed, and the fate of his family, a mute Hannibal displays violent tendencies and will not be intimidated by orphanage authorities.
His dreams haunt him every night – awful flash backs of the death of his parents, and the abduction of his sister. He screams in the night and wants nothing more than to be rid of the memories. His violent past has twisted him, and he runs away.
He finds his uncle’s house and is taken in. He discovers his uncle has passed away, but his aunt takes him in, sensing they have something in common, as her entire family was killed in Hiroshima.
Hannibal develops an obsession with weapons, stemming from the Oriential ones his aunt has in her shrine to her ancestors. He and his beautiful aunt become close, and we discover that Hannibal’s sister was killed and eaten by the evil men that had invaded their house. He becomes very protective of his aunt and kills someone that insults her, to protect her honour.
His demons eventually overcome him and the urge to exorcise them can no longer be quashed – which is where things start to get very interesting. He cleverly discovers the name of each man who ate his darling sister’s flesh and swears revenge. He tracks them down, one by one, and makes them pay.
Lecter by this point has been made one of the youngest ever medical students, and using his intricate knowledge of the human body, makes his victims pay in the worst possible way for what they did to him and his family.
To be honest, it wasn’t quite as scary and gory as the other films, but common sense tells you this is the BEGINNING of Lecter’s tail, therefore his crimes become more violent and twisted as his gets older.
Still disgusting… I spent much of the film hiding behind my hands (“has he done it yet?!”). A gripping plot which tells of his beginning, and even gives you sympathy for the world’s most famous cannibal, who was turned into a monster by his past. A must-see for fans, and a great introduction for those who haven’t seen any of the films. Right, I’m off to read the book now…