Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Silence of the Lambs

Movie Name: The Silence of the Lambs
Year of Release: 1991
Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Brooke Smith, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Stuart Rudin, Kasi Lemmons, Tracey Walter, Paul Lazar, Dan Butler, Kenneth Utt, Diane Baker, Ron Vawter, Charles Napier, Brent Hinkley, Alex Coleman, Chris Isaak, Daniel Von Bargen
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 10
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Jonathan Demme was riding a wave of good reviews and solid box office performances of his previous films, "Something Wild" and "Married to the Mob", when he took an inflection in his career, and tackled the adaptation of "The Silence of the Lambs", a thriller based on the book by Thomas Harris (and the second in a series to feature the character Hannibal Lecter). The film follows the story of a young FBI agent, by the name of Clarice Starling. She's still a student in Quantico, and she is tasked with investigating Hannibal Lecter, a well known serial killer in custody. There's hopes she'll get some information which will enable the bureau with a better chance to devise an effective profile on a killer who has been killing women around the Ohio area. Lecter is fascinated by Clarice, and devises a quid-pro-quo type of game, all with the intent of knowing more about her, while she collects insights on the mind of a serial killer. Buffalo Bill however, captures a new victim, and the clock starts ticking in order to save that woman.
"The Silence of the Lambs" is of course a classic, and it was justifiably so upon its release a big success (critically and commercially). It's a film that is impeccably constructed, providing enough depth to the central characters, to make them compelling throughout the events that occur. Clarice Starling in particular, is the character with the most interesting arc, since we get to understand who and why she is the woman she is. Her infancy, her fears, her path and focus, are all carefully showcased, and brilliantly performed by Jodie Foster. She's a fully realized character, and while her supporting actors don't have as much time, Anthony Hopkins for instance, manages to create a menacing killer, one that operates on multiple levels: intellectual, methodic and ruthless. It's a film where everything gels perfectly, with the cinematography from Tak Fujimoto, capturing perfectly the rural aspect of certain parts of Ohio and also the grim details of where Clarice ends up going. The score from Howard Shore is haunting, as is this wonderful film, which set a new standard for thrillers, and went on to influence much of what was released during the 90s and everything on this topic since. A classic always worth revisiting.