Mr Lecter grabbed our attention in Silence Of The Lambs, and quite honestly you would not want him as a house guest, his table manners leave a lot to be desired. In Hannibal Rising we get to see how and why Hannibal Lector (Gaspard Ulliel) grew up to be slightly unsocial. It was with some trepidation that I popped this in the DVD player, I was expecting 2 hours of blood and gore. What I found instead was a very cleverly executed movie. The story line, while maybe not quite unique, is an intriguing one.

Hannibal Rising starts in 1944, Hannibal (Aaron Thomas) is a young boy from a very wealthy family, he resides in ‘Castle Lector’, even by my high standards that is not a bad address to have! Unfortunately ‘Castle Lecter’ is in Lithuania, and is part of the German and Russian moving frontline. Fearing that the castle will be a target of interest to the bombers the family retreats to a cottage in the woods. Unfortunately it is not quite far enough from the action.

He first witnesses his parents die at the hands of the warring factions,  and then even more harrowing the demise of his younger sister at the hands (and cooking pot) of some starving renegades. Post war Hannibal finds himself back at ‘Castle Lector’, but not as spoiled child, but as a member of an orphanage. My favorite line in the whole movie has to be the Headmaster admonishing Hannibal “You don’t follow the natural pecking order, you are mean to the bullies”. 

This pretty much sets Hannibal on his own road to revenge. Although it takes many years to come to fruition, he is bound and determined to track down the people that ate his sister Misha. He finds an ally in his aunt Lady Murasaki Shikibu (Li Gong) who takes the young man under her wing, and fortunately, or unfortunately teaches him the skills he needs. And certainly, Lector does come up with some deliciously evil methods of dispatch. This DVD comes as ‘Unrated’ it is a newly edited version, while I found it profoundly disturbing on a psychological level, but it was not the ‘blood fest’ that I had feared.There are some interesting extra’s on the DVD that the fan might enjoy, some deleted scenes, and some scenes that were modified. With great acting, and great photography you will want this in your collection.  Hannibal Rising goes on sale today, so rush out and snap this up, I am sure that it will be in your local Megamart this weekend!

Jan (my wife and co-reviewer) and I give this one two ‘Heads on a platter’ up!

Simon Barrett

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