BBC3: Saturday 31 October, 10.15pm
So how did cannibalistic killer Hannibal Lecter qualify for his increasingly large parts in Thomas Harris’ bestsellers? Well, according to the author, he began as little Aaran Thomas, witnessing a wartime atrocity carried out by Rhys Ifans and local militia goons in Lithuania. Later he became prissy medical student Gaspard Ulliel, living off the patronage of a wealthy relative.
Yes, that’s Chinese beauty Gong Li as his Japanese aunt, Lady Murasaki, clad in black leather from head to toe like Marianne Faithful in Girl on a Motorcycle. No wonder Dominic West’s plodding police inspector is furrowing his brow. Hard to credit, but director Peter Webber’s previous film was the subtly restrained Girl With a Pearl Earring.
Hannibal Rising provides a pointlessly degrading backstory to Harris’ most famous creation, a subsidiary character in Red Dragon, given centre stage in The Silence of the Lambs (Sky Movies Crime & Thriller at 12.10am) and elevated to creepy star status in Hannibal. Humourless and absurd, this barrel-scraping farrago plumbs new depths in finding excuses for Lecter to kill with impunity.
Set in the kind of Europe where everyone speaks perfect English, even the Asians, it somehow manages to be more ridiculous and repugnant than Perfume! It’s also completely devoid of suspense: we all know how Hannibal turned out, and who cares what happens to war criminals?