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