The Silence of the Lambs

It’s easy to forget just how impressive Silence of the Lambs is as a film; receiving the ‘Big 5’ Oscars (Actor, Actress, Picture, Director, Screenplay) back in 1992, an accolade since rusted by the diminishing returns of the sequels/prequel. When remembered, the image brought to mind is of a motionless Anthony Hopkins stood eerily in the centre of a jail cell, awaiting Jodie Foster’s FBI student Clarice Starling, the conversations that ensue regarding Hopkins’ incarcerated Hannibal Lecter assisting the FBI with psychological analysis of an active serial killer, and certainly Hopkins’ aggressive, manic yet restricted delivery of oft-quoted and even more so parodied dialogue. Admittedly Hopkins turn, equal parts refined and ruthless, educated and insane, psycho-analytical and psychopathic, is remarkable, before Ridley Scott’s Hannibal turned him into some kind of dandy rogue (albeit one who feeds Ray Liotta his own brain), but it is so overpowering that it overshadows the rest of the film, feeling his absence whenever he’s not on screen, staring directly into the soul of the viewer. Not to diminish the rest of the production, with Jodie Foster being another highlight, her twig-like rookie about a foot shorter than all the other male recruits, all of whom have no problem checking her out as she walks by, seeing her not as an equal, but simply as a girl. Ted Levine (Monk, Heat) is also incredible as the killer Buffalo Bill, keeping his victims alive in a well before skinning them to make himself a suit. Criminally he was not even considered for a supporting actor nomination, yet his portrayal is arguably more chilling than Hopkins’, delving deep into a twisted, scarred psyche and throwing the shattered remains at the screen. The third reel reveals, both examples of fine editing and cinematography, also deserve mentioning, keeping you guessing long after you thought you knew what was happening.
Choose film 8/10
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