Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Hannibal Rising" to "Nashville"

So, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I saw "Hannibal Rising" on Sunday night. Not too good as you might have guessed. I knew going in that the reviews had been nearly universal in their antipathy towards the film, but I went hoping to see if there was even a little flash of the Lectery goodness I love so much. No such luck. The guy who plays Lecter (Gaspard Ulliel) has this terrible, Eurotrashy accent which, even if there'd been any good lines for him to deliver, would have mangled them. Worse, he's got this Crispin-Glovery joker-mask for a face. Not a trace of Hopkins in either appearance or demeanor, and not even an interesting new take on the character to make up for it. Some of the movie's difficulty lay in casting Noel but I think Harris's novel is central to the film's failure. True, the Lecter character never needed fleshing out -- I think he was just fine as Harris left him at the end of "Silence": enigmatic and unpredictable -- but much about the backstory Harris gives Hannibal is just disappointing. The reason he eats people is because starving opportunists ate his sister when he was a kid? And he's a Lithuanian whose father's named Count Lecter? You almost think Harris thought about the whole thing for a second, called it good and went ahead, thinking all the while to the 5 million dollar check he'd soon deposit. I wished he'd paused for a few minutes and thought a little harder. Would have made a better book and possibly a better movie and he would have gotten the same cash. Anyway, neither was good enough to devote more ink to than just that.

Also, I watched "Nashville" finally. I thought it was dull, overlong, and self-indulgently meandering. It feels like a movie that's so of that particular moment that if you weren't in any way present for that moment, the film has no impact. I totally concede that I may just be an uncultured goof but, so far, after having watched two of his "classic" films, "M.A.S.H." and now "Nashville", the critical glow that surrounds Altman still mystifies me. Maybe "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" will be the one that redeems him for me. I saw the first few minutes of that movie and it looked great. Here's hoping.

[Ed. note: The kid's name isn't Gaspar Noel as I originally wrote, but Gaspard Ulliel. Just lazy.]


harwell said...

No surprise there with HANNIBAL RISING. I think the only surprise with this movie is that it opened in 2nd last week instead of somewhere much lower. Other than you Crane, I don't really know of anyone who has interest in this thing. Anybody else out there seen it?

Let us know what you think of MCCABE. A lot of Altman's movies are much more stylistically interesting to me than emotionally engaging. SHORT CUTS and the PLAYER would probably be two exceptions for me, but I've always admired the feel of Altman's movies and how he went about constructing his career. It's very easy to see his influence in a lot of younger filmmakers that I admire a good bit.

blankfist said...

Thanks for the SPOILER ALERT, Crane. I appreciate that. Now the movie will be ruined with me knowing he eats people because his sister was eaten by Lutherian Counts of... er... was eaten by Count Hannibal who is... what was that convoluted mess again? Anyhow. IMDB says Hannibal was played by Aaron Thomas, not Gasper Noel. What am I missing? I thought for a second that you meant Gasper NoƩ who directed Irreversible. Have you seen that flick, yet? I bet you never will.

blankfist said...

It also says he was played by Gaspard Ulliel.

blankfist said...

You're ridiculous. Check your facts, please, Fox News!