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The Silence of the Lambs


The Silence of the Lambs

(Jonathan Demme)




The Silence of the Lambs won the "Big Five" Awards at the Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, making it 1 of only 3 films to be able to accomplish that feat. Impressive and worthy, as Silence of the Lambs was ahead of its time, laying the foundation for crime thrillers we see today.

Serial killer Buffalo Bill has claimed another victim and the FBI agent in training Clarice Starling is tasked with interviewing a cannibalistic serial killer who might have insight into the mind of Bill.

In a role the defined his career, Anthony Hopkins defined the role of Hannibal Lecter, once played by Brian Cox. Some people may forget the Cox originated the role because Hopkins delivers a chillingly still performance that is cemented in Hollywood forever. When we first are introduced to him, he's standing in his cell, behind a pane of glass. Here's a man confined to one room, yet gives off the impression and demeanour of commanding everything and everyone around him. His words are his weapons now and he spars calmly with Starling in her quest to find out who Buffalo Bill is. Lecter knows, but he prefers the interaction with Starling far more and will use this as his opportunity to possibly escape. I can't stress how great I think Hopkins is in this film. Watch how carefully and purposely he chooses to pronounce his words, it immediately takes a hold of you and lets you know that HE is actually in charge, despite his current physical predicament. His eyes, always focused and his posture, always perfect.

Jodie Foster had been around for a long time before Lambs came out, she was a young teenage prostitute in Scorsese's Taxi Driver. When we are first introduced to her, she's training outside at Quantico. When she is called in to the FBI director's office, Demme has a shot of her in an elevator with all these guys who are taller than her. Showing not only her spot on the totem pole, but the uphill battle she faces as a woman. Why of all people is she being picked to interview Lecter? Knowing there must be ulterior motives, she still uses the opportunity to overcome it. Foster brings Southern strength to the character, showcasing her determination and willpower to get the job done. Her interaction with Hopkins are highlights for the film.

Demme has created a concise and controlled psychological thriller that has been copied over and over again. The Silence of the Lambs launched the careers of everyone involved and holds up incredibly well today. I do wish I could chat about this film longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner...