The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs ★★★½

78

I can smell your cunt.

Clarice Starling, an FBI agent, seeks help from Hannibal Lecter, a psychopathic serial-killer and former psychiatrist, in order to apprehend another serial-killer who has been claiming female victims - Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins were a phenomenal duo.

Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs was a bold and astute thriller that wrestled between psychological study and flat-out horror. It featured many complex topics such as murder-motivations, gender and identity.

The allurement between Foster (Clarice Starling) and Hopkins (Dr. Hannibal Lecter) was completely captivating - they had a poisonous and foreboding relationship. As the narrative untangled, their strenuous bond dilated like a swollen river ready to burst its banks in time for the rousing conclusion.

The heated dialogue between the pair that saw them exchange personal anecdotes for case information was very well composed.

Clarice Starling: Most serial killers keep some sort of trophies from their victims.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter: I didn't.

Clarice Starling: No. No, you ate yours.

The investigation predominantly focused around three characters - Clarice Starling (a young and aspirational FBI agent with a charmingly thick Southern accent), Hannibal Lecter (a cunning and perverse serial-killer) and Buffalo Bill (estranged and self-loathing, he skins his overweight female victims to make a skin-suit). From a performance viewpoint, it was immaculate.

However, the overall package left me slightly dissatisfied. Being such a well-regarded movie with many accolades, it was perched on quite a high pedestal. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it but what may have been a pioneering concept in 1991 just didn't have the same impact three decades later (Star Wars had a similar issue, in the 70's it was a truly innovative concept but its newer releases drown in a crowded market).

I found the plot relatively underwhelming, that was until the scene where Hannibal surprised us with his bold tricks and tactics as he masqueraded the prison guards in order to escape. I was genuinely flabbergasted when he took off his bloodied mask - that was the films turning point and where sparks became flames.

Overall, the bar for The Silence of the Lambs was set far too high and my expectations struggled to keep afloat. Its saving-graces were its original concept, plausible performances and fitting end.

I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye.