Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Silence of the Lambs ★★★★

Image result for Silence of the Lambs title screen

    There are some images acquired from watching the medium of film that are sketched in our minds and memories forever--Hannibal Lector is one of those said images. Lector is a chilling portrait of a man who is completely insane, yet exquisitely intellectual. He can parley with the most brilliant of minds and devour a portion of skin from your face in a matter of seconds. Although Lector's presence may seem negligible in the 1991 thriller entitled "The Silence of the Lambs," he is undeniably the man of the hour.

    Clarice Starling, the other half of our yin and yang, is an FBI Academy trainee with an illustrious record and buoyant future. It is for this reason, along with the fact that she is an attractive young woman, that ultimately sees to her assignment of interviewing Dr. Lector. A menacing serial killer, nicknamed "Buffalo Bill," is on the loose and the FBI is under the impression that the former psychiatrist and killer can profile a suspect.

    The scene in which young Clarice first meets Hannibal Lector is arguably one of the most vehement exchanges of dialogue in the film, which sets up for this peculiar, yet beneficial relationship. Starling is brimming with self-confidence and professionalism, that is, until Dr. Lector profiles and dissects her lowly and rather harrowing upbringing. Nevertheless, Lector will provide Starling with a clue and a profile under the circumstance that he is transferred to another facility and that she participate in a quid pro quo session, where Lector exchanges information on the suspect for tidbits of Starling's past.

    Jodie Foster is the ideal actress to portray the poised, yet inexperienced agent Starling. Foster displays a sense of genuine emotion and instinctive mannerisms throughout the film, which highlights some of her finest talents; her exchanges of dialogue with Lector are impeccably crafted. Foster's character is a very intuitive individual, who also exhibits a perfectionist mentality. She has to find this killer while overcoming a dreadful past and the mind games of her new colleague.

    Subsequently, "Buffalo Bill" abducts a senator's daughter via tactics used by the very real and abominable Ted Bundy. This increases the urgency to find the killer, who could essentially murder his new victim at any moment. After Starling is forced to make a falsified offer to Lector, he finds an offer of his own directly through the senator. Lector is flown to Memphis, Tennessee, where he ultimately degrades the senator, but not before giving an invented name for the killer.

    This point of incarceration will become the opportunity Lector needs to escape confinement and become one among society once again. As for Starling, she will have to exercise all of her training and knowledge of this case to at last come face to face with the fugitive.

    Hannibal Lector is played by the one and only Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins performance here reiterates the fact that the casting of this film was nothing less than brilliant. I will never imagine another face to be Dr. Lector. Hopkins provides us with a very keen and sincere delivery of lines and emotions. (The reflection of Lector's dark and veiled face on the glass barrier of his confinement instills a sense of trepidation in us all.)

    This is a very difficult performance to endure; it is widely known that Hopkins only appears on-screen for a limited time; therefore, his delivery must be perfect. His role essentially makes this film. Lector acts as a confidante and mentor to Starling and, without his presence, all direction in her character would be lost. Starling needs Lector just as much as he requires her. These characters become a single entity and will continue their dance of intellect and subtle actions in subsequent films.

    "The Silence of the Lambs" is one of a handful of films to sweep all five of the major Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress. Regardless of its popularity among mass audiences, this film is a genuine testament to the importance of characterization. Without a compelling set of characters, all interest becomes lost, and the significance of the plot will ultimately remain futile.

    This is a picture that will punch you in the mouth with its suspense and intrigue; it is a staple in a genre that seeks to blend horror with the captivating structure of a thriller. The last scene in this film sets up for a sequel, although when it was made there was no motivation for such undertakings. The final shot of Hannibal Lector merging into a faceless crowd, while stalking his prey, is the pinnacle of fear.



  1. Well done . . .-mj

  2. Good article , interestingly I watch this film very late , only last week.