Hannibal Rising (film)

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Hannibal Rising
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Webber
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Martha De Laurentiis
Tarak Ben Ammar
Screenplay by Thomas Harris
Based on Hannibal Rising 
by Thomas Harris
Starring Gaspard Ulliel
Gong Li
Rhys Ifans
Dominic West
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
Shigeru Umebayashi
Cinematography Ben Davis
Edited by Pietro Scalia
Valerio Bonelli
Distributed by Momentum Pictures (UK)
SPI International (Czech Republic)
The Weinstein Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (US)
Release dates
  • 7 February 2007 (2007-02-07) (France)
  • 9 February 2007 (2007-02-09) (Italy/US/UK)
  • 22 February 2007 (2007-02-22) (Czech Republic)
Running time
121 minutes[1]
130 minutes (Extended cut)
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
Language English
Budget $50 million[3]
Box office $82.2 million[4]

Hannibal Rising is a 2007 horror film and the fifth film of the Hannibal Lecter franchise. It is a prequel to the previous three films: 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 a cannibalistic serial killer.

French actor Gaspard Ulliel portrays Lecter. Anthony Hopkins played the role in three previous films, and Brian Cox portrayed him in Manhunter (1986).

Hannibal Rising 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 9 February 2007. Theatrical distribution in the United States was handled by The Weinstein Company and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The DVD was released on 29 May 2007.


In 1944, an eight-year-old Hannibal Lecter lives in Lecter Castle in Lithuania. Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union turns the Baltic region into part of the bloodiest front line of World War II. Lecter, his younger sister Mischa, and their parents travel to the family's hunting lodge in the woods to elude the advancing German troops. The Nazis are finally driven out of the countries soon to be occupied by the Soviet Union. During their retreat, however, they destroy a Soviet tank that had stopped at the Lecter family's lodge looking for water. The explosion kills everyone but Lecter and Mischa. They survive in the cottage until five former Lithuanian militiamen, led by a Nazi collaborator named Vladis Grutas, storm and loot it. Finding no other food in the bitterly cold Baltic winter, the men kill and eat Mischa as Lecter looks on. Traumatized, he wanders through the wilderness until he is taken in by an orphanage.

By 1952, Lecter Castle has been turned into a Soviet orphanage. After brutalizing a bully, Lecter escapes from the castle orphanage to Paris to live with his widowed aunt, the Lady Murasaki. While in France, Lecter flourishes as a student. He commits his first murder as a teenager, killing a local butcher who has insulted his aunt. He is suspected of the murder by Inspector Popil, a French detective who also lost his family in the war. Thanks in part to his aunt's intervention, Lecter escapes punishment for the crime.

Eventually, Lecter becomes the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. He receives a working scholarship at a hospital in Paris, where he is given a job preparing cadavers. One day, Lecter witnesses a condemned war criminal receiving a sodium thiopental injection recall details about his war crimes. In an attempt to recall the names of those responsible for his sister's death, Lecter injects himself with the solution. His subsequent flashback reveals the men who had killed and cannibalized Mischa. Lecter returns to Lithuania in search of his sister's remains. He excavates the ruins of the lodge where his family died, and upon finding Mischa's remains, he gives her a proper burial. He also unearths the dog-tags of the deserters who killed his sister. One of them, Dortlich, shows up and attempts to kill him, but Lecter gets the upper hand. After he buries Mischa's remains, Lecter forces Dortlich to reveal the whereabouts of the rest of his gang, then decapitates him.

Lecter begins his search for the rest of Mischa's murderers. In Fontainbleau, he visits a restaurant that belongs to one of the killers, Kolnas. There, he sees Kolnas' young daughter, who is wearing Mischa's bracelet. Lecter tucks Kolnas' dog-tag into her pocket for her father to find. Dortlich's murder has put the rest of the group on alert and, because of the similarity to the butcher's murder, causes Inspector Popil to renew his suspicions about Lecter. Grutas, now a sex trafficker, dispatches a second member of the group, Zigmas Milko, to kill Lecter at the medical school. Lecter kills Milko instead, drowning him in formaldehyde inside his laboratory. Popil talks with Lecter about his suspicions that the young man is hunting down the men who killed his sister; Lecter suggests that as both of their families were killed in the war, then both he and Popil could be among the murder suspects. Later, Lecter meets with Lady Murasaki; they kiss and she begs him to stop his quest for vengeance and to forgive the men who killed his sister. Lecter turns away, saying that he cannot promise her this, as he made a promise first to Mischa.

Lecter invades Grutas' home and attacks him, but Grutas is rescued by his bodyguards. Grutas then kidnaps Lady Murasaki and uses her as bait to bring Lecter to him. Lecter recognizes a sound in the background of the phone call: the sounds of Kolnas' birds from the restaurant. He goes there and threatens Kolnas' children. Frightened, Kolnas gives up the location of Grutas' houseboat, and Lecter promises to spare his life; when Kolnas pulls a gun, however, Lecter kills him in self-defense. Lecter confronts Grutas on the houseboat. During their final confrontation, Grutas claims that Lecter, too, had consumed his sister in broth fed to him by the soldiers. Enraged, Lecter carves an "M" for "Mischa" into Grutas' chest and abdomen. With the still-living Grutas groaning on the floor, Lecter professes his love to Lady Murasaki. Horrified, she says, "What is there left in you to love?" and flees from him. The houseboat explodes and is incinerated. Lecter, assumed by all to be dead, emerges from the woods. In the final scene, Lecter travels to Canada, where he hunts down the last member of the group, Grentz.




Critical response[edit]

Hannibal Rising received generally negative reviews from film critics, though Ulliel's performance as Lecter was generally praised.[citation needed] The film garnered a 15% approval rating from 143 critics—an average rating of 3.9 out of 10—on the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, which said, "Hannibal Rising reduces the horror icon to a collection of dime-store psychological traits."[5] Metacritic provides a score of 35% based on reviews from 30 critics, which indicates "generally unfavorable" reviews.[6] The film was nominated for, but did not win, two Golden Raspberry awards. They were for Worst Prequel or Sequel (lost to Daddy Day Camp) and Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie (lost to I Know Who Killed Me).

Box office[edit]

The film opened at #2 in the United States with $13.4 million, less than half of the $33.7 million opening of Norbit[7] 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 North American domestic gross of the film was $27,669,725, less than the opening weekend gross of both Hannibal and Red Dragon ($58,003,121 and $36,540,945, respectively).

Home media[edit]

The DVD was released on 29 May 2007 and sold 480,861 units in the opening weekend, generating revenue of $10,574,133. As of August 2009, the film has grossed $23,242,853 from DVD sales alone. Blu-ray sales or DVD rentals are not included.[8]


  1. ^ "HANNIBAL RISING (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 15 January 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Harvey, Dennis (8 February 2007). "Hannibal Rising". Variety. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Hannibal Rising, The Numbers
  4. ^ Hannibal Rising, Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ Hannibal Rising at Rotten Tomatoes Flixster
  6. ^ Hannibal Rising at Metacritic CBS Interactive
  7. ^ Gwyneth Paltrow finds "Country Strong" a struggle (Reuters), 21 December 2010 Yahoo! Movies: Movie News
  8. ^ Hannibal Rising – DVD Sales. The Numbers. Retrieved on 2010-12-22.

External links[edit]