I remember just like it was yesterday when I bought this film when I was 14 years old. A film I heard so much about that I just had to see it, whether it was good or bad, and it has stayed on my mind forever once the last frame rolled. Based on the Thomas Harris novel and arguably Jonathan Demme’s best film and armed with a distinct brand of atmospheric suspense, direction, story and stellar performances, The Silence of the Lambs will forever stand high as one of the most intelligent and suspenseful films ever made.Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is a FBI agent trainee whom has been lured as a bait by Behavioral Science head Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) in order to grill information out of renowned psychiatrist and psychopath Dr. Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) on several unsolved cases, most notably the case of the serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). After the kidnapping of a Senator’s daughter in the State of Illinois, Lecter offers a psych profile on Buffalo Bill to Starling in exchange of Starling’s personal feelings. As Clarice treads deeper into the case and into Lecter’s mind, she’ll have to try her best to conquer her fears in order to solve the case before the girl is killed.
At the film’s core it’s a character study of both Lecter and Starling while all the same relying on effect and mood in order to give the film the suspense it demands and pulls it off masterfully. Anthony Hopkins gives the character of Hannibal Lecter a three-dimensional portrait rather than a caricature-like beast; depicting a simple looking man with a deadly instinct hidden but always present within him and an ever-mysterious tone looming across his personality. He’s like a lion, holding calm and still, waiting until the right moment to strike. Thanks to this, Hopkins is clearly believable. Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling is the larger of the two focal points, a determined yet vulnerable person whom is still a child at heart and wants to fight her fears as later revealed in the many conversations with Lecter, in order to become her own woman. The screenshot of Starling looking towards the window reflect of Lecter’s face pretty much summarizes the film’s main intentions.
The rest of the story, which was adapted by Ted Tally, is just as intriguing as its characters. Besides delivering excellent character development and clever symbolisms, it also plunges the viewer down deep into the dark side of humanity and studying its psychological aspects; all of which we encounter in everyday life, and also makes us think about our own personal aspects of our lives. The screenplay is perfectly blended with Demme’s direction which includes the usual a gritty, faded discolored photography courtesy of Tak Fujimoto and Howard Shore’s bold and moody score (which ranks amongst his best scores). These two elements along with the solid acting allow Demme to inject a dark, moody and unpredictable atmosphere which is capable of being as volatile as a hydrogen balloon. Demme’s Oscar is well-deserved though Oliver Stone and Ridley Scott gave him a run for his money that year.In the end, this film is a certified classic and a kick-ass piece of work which one will enjoy time after time (at least I have); definitely worth seeing at least once in your life. 5-5