Hannibal Rising is a 2007 horror film and the fifth film of the Hannibal Lecter franchise. It is a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Red Dragon. The film is an adaptation of Thomas Harris' 2006 novel of the same name and tells the story of Lecter's evolution from a vengeful Nazi hunter into a cannibalistic serial killer.
The film was directed by Peter Webber from a screenplay by Harris, and stars Gaspard Ulliel as the title character with additional roles played by Gong Li, Rhys Ifans and Dominic West. Filming took place at Barrandov Studios in Prague. It was produced by the Dino De Laurentiis Company and was released in France on February 7, 2007, and in Italy, United Kingdom, and the United States on February 9, 2007. Theatrical distribution was handled by Momentum Pictures in the U.K., and by The Weinstein Company and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the U.S.. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, though Ulliel's performance as Lecter was generally praised. It grossed $82.2 million against a $50 million budget.
In 1944, eight-year-old Hannibal Lecter lives in Lecter Castle in Lithuania. The German 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. After three years, the Nazis are finally driven out of the countries soon to be re-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 look menacingly at Lecter and Mischa.
In 1952, Lithuania is under Soviet rule and Lecter Castle has been converted into an orphanage, which also houses Hannibal. After dealing violently with a bully, Lecter escapes from the orphanage to Paris to live with his widowed aunt, Lady Murasaki. While in France, Lecter flourishes as a student. He commits his first murder as a teenager, killing a local butcher who insults his aunt. He is suspected of the murder by Inspector Pascal Popil, a French detective who also lost his family in the war. Thanks in part to his aunt's intervention, as she leaves the butcher's head on the gates in front of the station during Lecter's interview, Lecter escapes responsibility for the crime.
Eventually, Lecter becomes the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. He works in Paris, where he is given a job preparing cadavers. One day, Lecter witnesses a condemned war criminal receiving a sodium thiopental injection, allowing him to recall details about his war crimes. Consequently, 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 Mischa and had cannibalized her as well. 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, Enrikas Dortlich, sees him arrive in the country and attempts to kill him but is incapacitated by Lecter. After he buries Mischa's remains, Lecter forces Dortlich to reveal the whereabouts of the rest of his gang, then decapitates Dortlich with a horse-drawn pulley. Dortlich's blood splashes on Lecter's face, and he licks it off.
Lecter then visits the restaurant of another one of the soldiers, Petras Kolnas, in Fontainebleau. He finds his young daughter and notices Mischa's bracelet on her. He gives her Kolnas's dogtag. Dortlich's murder puts the rest of the group on alert and, because of the similarity to the first murder, places Lecter under renewed suspicion from Popil. Grutas, now a sex trafficker, dispatches a second member of the group, Zigmas Milko, to kill him. Lecter kills Milko instead, drowning him in embalming chemicals inside his laboratory. Popil then tries to dissuade him from hunting the gang. During a confrontation with Lady Murasaki, she begs him not to get revenge. He refuses, claiming that he made a promise to Mischa. He then attacks Grutas in his home but Grutas is rescued by his bodyguards.
Grutas kidnaps Lady Murasaki and calls Lecter, using her as bait. Lecter recognizes the sounds of Kolnas's birds from his restaurant in the background. Lecter goes there and plays on Kolnas's emotions by threatening his children. Kolnas gives up the location of Grutas's boat, but Lecter kills him when Kolnas goes for Lecter's gun. Lecter goes to the houseboat and finds Grutas assaulting Lady Murasaki. In a final confrontation, Grutas claims that Lecter had also consumed his sister in broth fed to him by the soldiers, and he was killing them to keep this fact secret. Enraged by the revelation, Lecter eviscerates Grutas by repeatedly carving his sister's initial into his body. Lady Murasaki, finally disturbed by his behavior, flees from him even after he tells her that he loves her. The houseboat is incinerated, but Lecter, assumed to be dead, emerges from the woods. He then hunts down the last member of the group, Grentz, in Melville, Canada, before leaving for the United States.
Sound Effects Used
- Gary Rydstrom Lion Growl
- SKYWALKER EXPLOSION 07 (after the Junkers Ju-87 just crashed into the Soviet tank, the Volcano variant of that explosion sound was once heard exploded like this, I, [TMD the Hedgehog] think)
- SKYWALKER, EXPLOSION - EXPLOSIVE RICOCHET, EXPLOSION ACCENT (heard once)
- STUKA SIREN (Unknown siren dive sounds)