Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hannibal Rising

Right from the start, let me admit, I have seen all of the Hannibal movies including the original Manhunter. I know, call me messed up, call me whatever. I guess part of it comes from my days where I was studying and fascinated with Abnormal Psychology. Another part of my interest may have been my appreciation of Tom Harris, and the fascinating character study he has written. Thankfully he is back and it is his story that we see on screen.

Hannibal Rising is the prequel to the Hannibal Lecter character. The movie starts out with the early youth of young Hannibal Lecter. Growing up in Lithuania in the Lecter castle we see a loving and fun young Hannibal, alongside his little sister and loving parents. The story starts in the early days of World War 2 and the events of that war lead to what will ultimately become a villainous character for the ages.

In recent movies featuring the character Hannibal Lecter, there was much that was lacking. In the original Silence of the Lambs we see an interesting character study and adventure that lets us into the mind of Hannibal Lecter. Even though this was the case there was always that ongoing confusion and interest as to why Hannibal was the way he was. This movie answers those questions.

Hannibal Rising is a character study into the concept of evil and where evil comes from. The series has always been laced with Spiritual imagery. There has been visual imagery as well as contextual imagery in the stories. While there is minimal visual imagery here, the overall theme comes in the exploration of evil, and is in reality more of a plot issue for this movie.

From Biblical times there has been the exploration of evil. From Genesis to Revelation, almost every book of the Bible explores evil, its consequences, origins, and realities. Those concepts relating to evil, the concept especially of every person being born with the potential of evil is driven home by Tom Harris in this story. It is here we see, understand, and can almost accept the evil that exists within Hannibal Lecter. That is not to excuse the evil, but to simply understand Hannibal from a new perspective. We see a perspective where we can look at ourselves and ask the question, what if it had been me.

We see in the life of Hannibal Lecter evil birthed by evil. From this one can relate better to a Biblical concept presented in the book of Romans chapter 12, verse 21 where the reader is told not to repay evil with evil. There are consequences of such actions and this movie present those which can come about when one repays evil with evil.

This is not an exceptional movie. It is one of the better Hannibal movies of recent, and it presents a fascinating character study. One more character driven than it is on the themes of surprise, suspense, or even terror. For many Hannibal fans it will disappoint. For those fascinated with the Hannibal character, there will be plenty of answers and plenty of things to appreciate.

What I would hope many get out of the movie is the concept of understanding evil, and the dangers and consequences that exist when one repays evil. In the capacity for revenge or vengeance, we all run the risk of becoming like Hannibal. We likely won't become this in the methods and ways he does, but with the emotional struggles and inner conflicts we face. The reality is far more harm can come from the tendency to seek vengeance, than can come from the effort to forgive. To strive and dwell on revenge can turn each of us into monsters.

On a technical perspective, the movie was interesting, well filmed, and a wonderful character study of Hannibal. I will admit I felt the movie was long and got a little boring. There was confusion as to the intent of the direction of the movie. It is not a movie I will likely see again, but am glad I saw it at least once. The characters were well acted but I don’t think we can expect any great roles to come about because of this movie. As a fan, you may or may not like it. On its own though, without an interest in the character, I just don’t think there would be much interest for Hannibal Rising.

On a scale of 1 - 10 for the 4 movies made with this character, deducting them from 10, I come up with an okay 6

Movie Trailer

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