The Silence of the Lambs
FBI trainee Clarice Starling is tasked with finding a serial killer, enlisting the help of cannibal and former psychiatrist Hannibal Lector.
Spoiler Level: Low
Human flesh is technically edible, right? It counts within the “food” category, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting it’s okay to eat anyone, all I’m saying is that this movie does in fact fit this month’s theme.
For those of you who only know Silence of the Lambs because of its most famous quote (“I ate his liver with fava beans and a nice chianti”) and think that’s all you need to see, this review is for you. I’ve seen this movie three times, and it continues to give me chills. This film is worth the watch.
The writing is some of the best you’ll ever see. Each line is perfect at grabbing the audience’s attention. There is very little action throughout the entire film, yet it’s a terrifying picture. Through dialogue alone you are able to fear the presence of the serial killers, particularly Lector. Throughout most scenes, Lector stands or sits still, and behind bars; there’s no direct threat of him escaping. However, you still feel like he can attack at any moment, not through his actions but by his words, as they torture the people he encounters.
The writing would be nothing without the acting. Every performance is superb. Anthony Hopkins, who plays Hannibal Lector, among other factors, has a very specific way of pronouncing each vowel, exaggerating certain sounds. He could be saying anything in that voice and it would be terrifying. Jodie Foster, who plays Clarice Starling, also gives a masterful performance. Her biggest strength is not in her dialogue but in her facial expressions to characters like Hannibal Lector and Buffalo Bill. Starling is a hard lined FBI agent but is able to show fear in a way that’s unsettling to the audience. Even she can be broken due to Hannibal Lector. Foster portrays this beautifully.
Another interesting element of this movie is the directing and cinematography. You were provided with the right camera shots and angles at all times. Whenever an important line would be given, you’d get a chilling close-up. When a terrifying character would be introduced, you’d get a shot that would be just a little off. Given there isn’t much action, the color scheme, set and costume design played an important role. There’s a plethora of gloomy sets, ranging from unsettling to grotesque.
Unlike a lot of other films focused on crime hunts, Silence of the Lambs is special because it characterizes the protagonist, Starling, well. Usually, it’s the victims and the suspects of a crime story that are focused on and developed, but here Starling is a developed figure, allowing for us as the audience to be invested in who she is.
Although I’m a big fan of this movie, I can admit it has its flaws. It can be slow, and a few aspects of the crime are more developed than others. This next part is a spoiler, so if you don’t like spoilers, skip to the next paragraph. The antagonist can be read as a negative portrayal of trans people. I read the character as pitiable as he has a desire to be female… something unheard of given the year. He also shows hesitation towards his actions. I can see how others might not agree with me, so proceed with caution.
Silence of the Lambs is excellent, definitely worth the watch.
Food Month: The Silence of the Lambs
Writing - 10/10
Storyline - 9.5/10
Acting - 10/10
Music - 9.3/10
Production - 9.5/10
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