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One of the most notorious movies of all time is the Silence of the Lambs. It’s got brilliant acting, iconic quotes and brought something new to cinema screens. It even won the Big Five at the 1992 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Male Actor, Best Female Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay). I’d heard so much about it and finally got the chance to watch it (and check it off my watchlist). This week’s review is the Silence of the Lambs.
Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, the Silence of the Lambs is based on the book of the same title. It follows Clarice Starling, a young student at the FBI’s training academy. As she is a top student, Jack Crawford enlists her help to interview Dr Hannibal Lecter, one of the craftiest and violent psychopaths. Lecter is currently serving lifetime behind bars for his acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford needs Clarice to interrogate Lecter as he may hold information about a new psychopathic murderer on the rise, Buffalo Bill. Clarice holds the key to extracting the information out of Lecter and stopping the graphic murders.
Anthony Hopkins played the criminally insane and psychopathic Dr Hannibal Lecter, who is admittedly one of the best movie characters ever. Hopkins portrayal of a creepy, cannibalistic psychopath was so brilliantly and perfectly executed that Anthony Hopkins rightfully earnt his Oscar award for Best Male Actor. The role of Clarice Starling was played by Jodie Foster. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic performance, and it was definitely award-worthy, but maybe not Oscar-worthy. She was well suited to play Clarice, and there aren’t many people who could have delivered a better performance than Foster, but I couldn’t help but feel that her delivery was lacking ever so slightly in a couple of areas. One was her vocal delivery, as I found it quite monotone at parts. I can’t quite put my finger on the other area. Having said that, the way Foster and Hopkins portrayed their characters when Clarice and Lecter were interacting with each other was so amazingly done. Buffalo Bill was the main antagonist and was played by Ted Levine. I thought the way Levine played Buffalo Bill was very well done on his part but would have liked to have seen more of his character.
The way the film came to life from the book was well done on Demme’s part. It created mystery and suspense in a way that left me intrigued by the film. The storyline is quite straightforward and, with the help of good music and acting, is produced into a film that kept me interested throughout and on the edge of my seat. The film also tended not to suffer from giving too much away via exposition but it did happen in a few places.
Now for my favourite parts. I loved the opening of the film. It had dramatic music that left us in suspense and immediately got me thinking ‘who is the girl, why is she running through the woods?’. It used no exposition to give this away and was done smoothly in a way that I enjoyed. Then the joint best scene was up next, and it was the first meeting between Clarice and Lecter. It was such a perfect introduction to Lecter’s creepily psychopathic cannibalistic character and the interaction between the two was something brilliant to watch. The film dies down for a while but is still interesting. The next scene I enjoyed most when Lecter was being held at the cage prison cell in Tennessee and he attacks the guards and escapes his cell. This entire scene (including the reveal of Lecter wearing one of the guards faces as a mask) was so crazy and exciting to watch and was perfectly delivered in terms of its visual depiction on screen. I liked the whole system of figuring out which order the victims were in, but what really got me was the plot twist of Clarice knocking on Buffalo Bill’s door when it was set up to be the FBI at Buffalo Bill’s house. The entire scene of Clarice fighting against Bill was fantastic and was made even better by the night vision fight. Lastly, the film’s end was the perfect ending to the Silence of the Lambs. It saw Hannibal Lecter having escaped prison phoning Clarice from Bimini. The camera cuts over to Frederick Chilton (Dr Lecter’s nemesis) walking through Bimini before Dr Lecter ominously tells Clarice that he’s ‘having an old friend for dinner’ before hanging up the phone and stalking Chilton through a crowd of people.
Overall, I’m giving the Silence of the Lambs an 8.4/10. Jonathan Demme’s great directorial skills were combined with some of the best acting I’ve seen from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster (whose admittedly was not as good as Hopkins, but was brilliant nonetheless) and an interesting story from Thomas Harris made for a fantastically enjoyable and awesome movie.
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Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for the review of a comedy movie, and while the film may not be the best, it sure is hilarious. See you then!