Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Jodie Foster (Clarice Starling), Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lecter), Ted Levine (Buffalo Bill), Scott Glenn (Jack Crawford), Anthony Heald (Dr. Chilton), Brooke Smith (Catherine – the abducted girl)
Country: United States
Language: English (English Subtitles)
Genres: Serial Killers, Detective-Mystery, Psychological Thrillers, Cannibalism, Captivity-Kidnapping, CrossDressing-Transsexual, Violence against Women
Plot – Spoilers:
Not only one of the greatest effed up movies ever made, Silence of the Lambs has to be one of the greatest any films ever made.
The 2nd in the Hannibal Lecter series after Red Dragon, it replaces Will Graham with Clarice Starling as the FBI agent consulting imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer, Dr Hannibal Lecter, on a new case of serial murders involving women being held captive for a while before being skinned and dumped in rivers.
There are a couple of differences between the two FBI agents and this lends new dynamics to their relationships with Lecter. Apart from the obvious gender difference, one is weather beaten and experienced and a sort of twin soul to Lecter while the other is a total noob with a burning drive to succeed and a moral compass that hasn’t yet been distorted.
Lecter plays riddles with Clarice and the law as pressure mounts following the abduction of a senator’s daughter. It all blows up into a stunning climax, with Hannibal meanwhile after 8 long years of captivity sensing an opportunity for himself too.
1. The Clarice-Lecter interactions
The first time they meet, Clarice Starling tries turning on the charm and Jodie Foster is brilliant in her portrayal of the awkwardness of an eager noob trying to outwit a master. The next few interactions see her drop her feminine traps and hit Lecter with frankness and a desperation to succeed, which he finds more agreeable. In fact, at one point he says, “Thank you Clarice” – It makes so much sense for him to say that. 8 years in captivity for a master of human psychology can be crippling. For such a person, to be allowed open access to another human’s mind must feel gratifying.
2. Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill
This must be one of the most underrated performances of all time. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster deservedly got the plaudits, but somewhere along the way, Ted Levine got a bit lost.
The “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” is hilariously dark especially the distance Bill tries to maintain from his object in distress, while also trying to speak and behave like a transsexual (Lecter believes Bill isn’t really trans but trying hard to be one). And finally, the climax to this scene where Bill pinches his shirt out like a pair of tits all the while mimicking Catherine wailing – Oh man, just brilliant.
3. Clarice Starling stumbling around like a novice in the dark while Bill watches her through his night vision goggles.
Terrifying and gripping.