The FILM IN WORDS Netflix Film of the Week: helping you navigate the filmic minefield of the nation’s favourite video streaming service.
Words: Brody Rossiter
Mads Mikkelsen’s finely tailored portrayal of Hannibal Lecter returns to UK television screens this week (to be specific, last night, but we all watch TV on demand now anyway don’t we?) and what better way to celebrate, or rather organise an impeccably catered soirée in honour of the fact, than to take a deep, dark, organ splattering journey back to Hannibal the Cannibal’s origins.
Adopting many guises throughout his life upon both page and screen, spanning Thomas Harris’ novel introduction to the character in Red Dragon, Mann’s Manhunter, Anthony Hopkins’ seminal “liver and fava beans” loving Silence of the Lambs Lecter, and finally the aforementioned Mikkelsen televisual re-imagining, Hannibal’s character has somehow remained one irresistible in nature despite the high-taboo and heinous handiwork of which he is so fond.
2007’s Hannibal Rising placed up-and-coming French actor Gaspard Ulliel in the titular role and transported audiences back to the serial killer’s roots in Lithuania and Paris; following his tortured childhood as an orphan and his subsequent voracious hunger for revenge against the individuals who robbed him of his family and childhood.
Unfortunately, the picture was greeted with a decidedly mixed, if not largely negative, critical reaction – primarily due to its emphasis upon visceral action as opposed to the oppressive, slow burning psychology of its predecessors. That being said, the narrative is canon within Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Trilogy and offers an equally important and gruesome insight into the events which lead to Hannibal’s metamorphosis into a monster.
Hannibal Rising may have taken the franchise in a direction that was not to many viewers’ tastes, but it does provide a sleek and relentlessly violent palate cleanser for audiences who grew tired and overstuffed with the tense prison cell stare downs and cryptic littering of clues. If you’re looking for thrills, blood spilled, and a tasty supporting cast including Dominic West, Rhys Ifans, and Gong Li, then may I present Hannibal Rising. Bon appétit.