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The New Hannibal: More Righteous, Less Filling

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With Hannibal Rising, Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter completes the journey from inconceivably savage serial murderer to morally righteous avenger. It was obvious from The Silence of the Lambs that novelist Thomas Harris was beginning to like Lecter a little too much. But that was the gorgeous perversity of the thing—that Clarisse, his Luke Skywalker, was learning more from Darth Vader than from Obi-Wan Kenobi. But by the time of Hannibal, Lecter was killing only the “rude”—the hypocrites, pedophiles, and scum. And now, in Hannibal Rising, the youngish Lecter kills the Nazi collaborators who also ate his little sister, and we’re meant to relish every triumphant skewering, decapitation, and mutilation. Gaspard Ulliel has a good skinny ghoulish face—he’s lit like the Joker in the less kid-friendly Batman comics. But Hannibal Rising is basically a Steven Seagal vigilante movie with a hero who eats the people he kills. At least it’s ecofriendly.

Hannibal Rising
Directed by Peter Webber. MGM. R.

E-mail: filmcritic@newyorkmag.com.


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