Based on Thomas Harris's novel of the same name, The Silence of the Lambs stars Jodie Foster in her Oscar-winning role as Clarice Starling, the young F.B.I. agent-in-training pulled into the hunt for serial killer Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb when, at the request of her superior Jack Crawford, she visits the cannibalistic Hannibal Lecter in his underground fortress seeking his insights into the aforementioned Buffalo Bill.
Though the plot is completely enthralling and shocking (the gore is sparse but effective), Foster's turn as Starling and Anthony Hopkins' performance as Hannibal Lecter are what make this a classic. Hopkins brings to life the most intelligent, sophisticated monster to ever hit the silver screen. Everything about this film is excellent. With Harris's novel as the source material, there was no question that it would be good. The question was more accurately, how good? Ted Tally translates the novel into a superb screenplay, deservedly winning an Oscar for his work. For those who have not had the pleasure of reading the book, there a few differences that don't make the screen that still make reading the novel a worthwhile endeavor.
Also putting his magic touch on the film is director Jonathan Demme, who also won an Oscar for his work on the film: he does a great job of telling the story without over-directing. The score by Howard Shore perfectly fits the film and lends to the thrilling aspect of the story. There are also the smaller roles that don't go unnoticed in this masterpiece. Who will ever forget Ted Levine's performance as Jame Gumb (especially the tuck scene where he dances for his video camera), Anthony Heald (the only one, along with Hopkins, to be in all three films) as the appropriately obnoxious (he's a bit of a prick, too) Dr. Chilton, or Frankie Faison as Barney Mathews, a character who would be more prominent in the 1998 film Hannibal. Though not a small role, Scott Glenn also does a wonderful job as Jack Crawford.
Without question, the relationship between Starling and Lecter is what makes this movie rise above all other serial killer movies. We really feel for Clarice; her plight is something everyone can relate to. Foster delivers an authentic performance that makes Clarice Starling more than just a crime fighter in a movie. Foster makes Clarice real, especially in the tense, symbolic, even moving scenes she shares with Hannibal. With only sixteen minutes of face time, Anthony Hopkins surely makes the most of what he had; in truth, less is more in this case. He is the Goliath to Clarice's David, and without Hopkins charisma, it wouldn't be the same Hannibal - compare him to Michael Mann's Hannibal (Brian Cox) in the 1986 movie Manhunter. While a great movie (also based on a Thomas Harris novel named Red Dragon) in its own right, it wasn't the phenomena that The Silence of the Lambs was. There will always be something singular about the hypnotic atmosphere created in this film.
|action | animation | art house/international | comedy | documentary | drama | family | horror/sci-fi | suspense | television|
|contact | home|