Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hannibal Rising

Before I say anything regarding the film, I must confess that I took a short break in my current book, last weekend, and read the novel, "Hannibal Rising" by Thomas Harris. Unlike his previous novels, 'Rising' was short, quickly paced and only took me a couple of days to complete and while I didn't necessarily feel the need for the background of Hannibal, I did enjoy the story as I have enjoyed Harris' books, "Red Dragon", "The Silence of the Lambs", "Hannibal", and the non-Hannibal, "Black Sunday", which was made into a wonderful film staring the late Robert Shaw.

The screenplay for the film was written by Thomas Harris, as well, so there were only minor changes from the book and they were, for the most part, to conserve time. However, I still didn't feel that the story was paced as quickly as it could have been but I realize that having read the book and knowing reasons and what to expect could have easily caused my mental time shift. The story itself, in case you had no clue, deals with the tragedies that befell the Lecter family near the end of World War Two and the events that shaped a young boy into becoming a sociopathic killer. The majority of the film takes place in the early years after the end of the war and I was was shocked at how well done everything was concerning that time period. The director, Peter Weber ("Girl with a pearl Earring"), did a fantastic job recreating the look and feel of those few years. I enjoyed looking at this film a little more than I did watching it. Another thing that really appealed to me about the film is that there were no "celebrities" contained within. This was no 'vehicle' for an individual. The person that I was most familiar with was, Gong Li ("Memoirs of a Geisha") and she wonderful, as usual (I'm a fan).

I did enjoy the film but only after realigning the story in my head. As I said, I loved the look of the movie and thought it was beautifully filmed and I was able to enjoy the story (even though a bit slow) after removing Hannibal from the equation. You see, I don't want to know (or even care about) what made Hannibal into Hannibal. In my mind, the Hannibal of the prior stories was who he was and who he was meant to be. No explanation needed. The problem is, we live in a world where people have developed into these beings that cannot exist without being able to place blame or name the cause. It helps them to sleep at night when they can rationalize that an abusive childhood is what caused the next-door neighbor to murder his Aunt with the claw of a hammer, dismember and bury her pieces in the back yard and highlight the spots with accent lighting which, unbeknownst to them when they were over for a pleasant late afternoon cookout, would join the shadows of the burial mounds like some Satanic anatomical connect-the-dots. They can't deal with the idea of evil for evils' sake. They wouldn't be able to sleep. Those people might enjoy this movie as an excuse or a reason for the character of Hannibal. For me, Hannibal never needed an excuse, cause or reason, he just was.

So, I enjoyed this film for its look and for the story of a young man whose life is shattered and survives horrible events only to have those events continue to haunt him and to what extent he is willing to go to extract revenge. In my mind, this was a different character who just happened to share the same name (the same can be said for the book).


Chris said...

Quick question, do any animals get killed? I can handle people being hacked to pieces in a movie, but if Fluffy gets it then I'm toast.

I agree with you on the blame game. At some point people must take responsibilities for their own actions. It still comes down to who pulled the trigger, not who put the gun in your had or sold you the bullets.

John Taylor said...

hiya chris
Let's see - there was a fish, a rabbit and a pheasant (there's a joke here somewhere)- all are dead when first seen -the fish was asphyxiated - the rabbit had frozen in the harsh winter (making him late - haha) and the pheasant was hunted for food - but does play an important part. Most importantly - none of the deaths were my fault.