2007 movie Hannibal Rising, which tells the story of teenage Hannibal and Mischa Lecter after their parents are killed in World War
Gong Li
Hannibal Rising” attempts to show the man behind the muzzle by delving into his formative years — with risible results.

On paper, there might have been something to the notion of how an innocent young boy could grow up into a notorious serial killer with a taste for fava beans and a nice Chianti to go along with that insatiable appetite for human flesh.

Gaspard Ulliel plays the young Hannibal Lecter
Having lost his parents and his younger sister in a succession of violent atrocities perpetrated by Nazis and even nastier war criminals, Hannibal goes on to face further indignities by being forced to live in the Soviet orphanage that occupies what was once his spacious family home.

Now grown into a young adult played by Gaspard Ulliel (“A Very Long Engagement”), Hannibal ultimately escapes to the Paris home of his uncle’s widow, the striking but enigmatic Lady Murasaki (Gong Li), and enrolls in medical school. But he soon realizes that his paralyzing nightmares won’t stop until he exacts vengeance on the men who made his childhood such a living hell.

While Webber received acclaim for his 2003 feature debut, “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” the very contained, deliberately posed approach that worked so effectively in that film just doesn’t cut it when it comes to determining what’s eating Hannibal Lecter.

Things go from merely strained to loopy when the action transitions to what is supposed to be France, and his exposure to Gong’s odd character sets the stage for an interlude that can best be described as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Cannibal,” before our boy starts going about his grisly business.

Harris’ uncomfortably stiff dialogue is made even more so as delivered by an extensive cast of heavily accented actors, while French lead Ulliel offers precious little in terms of vocal or physical cues that would suggest he’d one day mature into Anthony Hopkins

Gaspard Ulliel

Martha Schumacher, Dino De Laurentiis