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Sweeping all five major Academy Awards ("Oscars" for Best Movie, Director,
Actor, Actress, Screenplay) is quite an accomplishment. Doing it nearly a
year after a film was released is a miracle considering the notoriously
short attention span of Oscar voters. It is a powerful example of how great
a movie can be when superb writers, directors, actors, and others work at
the top of their craft.
`Silence of the Lambs' is the story of a young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) who is summoned to help find one serial killer called `Buffalo Bill.' by interviewing another. Foster's performance is absolutely brilliant. While Anthony Hopkins receives most of the (well-deserved) praise for his chilling portrayal of incarcerated serial killer `Hannibal the Cannibal' Lector', it is Foster's performance that holds the movie together. The fear she shows just behind her eyes makes Clarice's outward courage all the more interesting and vulnerable. This is the perfect way to play the part because it explains Lector's interest in Clarice. Her only bargaining chip in getting Lector's help is to let him `feed' on her innermost secrets and fears in exchange for his brilliant insights into the psychotic mind. The title of the movie comes from these exchanges and is very poignant.
Director Jonathan Demme is masterful. There is one scene late in the movie that I will not spoil. It is one of the most simply brilliant scenes ever staged in a movie. I don't know if all the credit goes to Demme or the writers, but there is a moment in the film where the suspense builds beautifully to a what seems to be a common movie scene. However, through skillful timing of the direction, the audiences assumptions are used against them and when the truth is revealed (hint: it involves a doorbell) it is shocking and induced a collective gasp from the audience I saw it with at the theatre. It set the stage for an edge-of-your seat climax.
Do not miss this movie.
The movie is incredibly suspenseful and an absolute must see.
I've seen way too many thrillers. You name it: "Identity", "Seven", "The
Usual Suspects", etc., etc., etc. I remember my friend being so obsessed
with "Silence of the Lambs", that it drove me crazy. And I hated the movie
naturally and refused to see it. But everyone told me that I have to see
this, so I let my guard down. And had an open mind, and I'm glad I did. My
friend was right, this is a great movie. It is so well acted, I couldn't
even describe. I loved "Silence of the Lambs" and would recommend it to
anyone. It's creepy and exciting. Trust me, you'll love
Brilliant Best Picture of 1991 that never gets old. "The Silence of the Lambs" deals with a young FBI cadet (Oscar-winner Jodie Foster) who is sent to interview a captured madman (Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins in one of the greatest performances ever on the screen) to find out about a serial killer (Ted Levine) who is stripping the skin from his female victims after they die. The FBI has had no luck with the case and agent Scott Glenn tries to throw a curve-ball to Hopkins by sending Foster. Hopkins is a former doctor of Levine and holds the clues to capturing the unknown criminal. Needless to say the film takes many twists and turns, creating a suspenseful thriller that has no equal. At the heart of "The Silence of the Lambs" are the confrontations between Hopkins and Foster. They play a complicated chess match of words which results in some of the greatest footage ever captured for the cinema. Hopkins dominates in spite of the fact he has approximately 17 minutes of time in the film. This is a film that will wrap itself around you and you will likely never be able to shake some of the key elements you have seen in this amazing masterpiece. 5 stars out of 5.
The Silence of the Lambs runs two hours.Anthony Hopkins appears for
little more than sixteen minutes, yet during those minutes he hasn't
bored you for a second, not even after the tenth or eleventh viewing.
Such is the power of his performance, it's absolutely impossible to
forget him.His character, Dr.Hannibal"The Cannibal" Lecter, is a brutal
killer with revolting methods and habits, but he's also very
intelligent, charismatic and with good taste(you can interpret that as
you like).A clichè by now, but who cares? He still is one of the key
elements in this wonderful thriller, which sees Jodie Foster's Clarice
Starling asking for Lecter's help to catch another killer.The result is
a dangerous yet fascinating relationship between the young,
unexperienced FBI-agent and the convicted,but basically omnipotent,
psychiatrist.He's a step ahead of everyone all the time, and makes sure
everyone notices, with his witty, unforgettable one-liners.If there had
to be only one reason to worship this movie, then it would have to be
the chemistry between the two leading actors.Never before has a
non-sexual man/woman connection been more thrilling.Never before has a
film's ending been more unsettling and brilliant and left us asking for
Best watched with a nice Chianti...
P.S. dear film-buffs, have the lambs stopped screaming?
I'll never forget my first viewing of this movie at the theater and
will always look back fondly on it for one reason: helping me quit
I read the book first, was fascinated by it, and couldn't wait for the film to come out. That was the day I picked to quit smoking and I knew this movie would take my mind off that matter. I was expecting an intense movie and I got it. Little did I realize how well-received this film would be and how it propelled Anthony Hopkins to super-stardom.
Although entertaining, this is not always a fun movie to watch, especially with the scenes with Ted Levine who plays the killer, "Buffalo Bill." "Bill" and his kidnapped young woman are sick and profane people, respectively, and their scenes are very unpleasant. This movie is not for the squeamish with those and other scenes involving the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins). There also is some extreme crudeness in the jail/dungeon where Lecter and other inmates are held.
Jodie Foster is excellent as the FBI agent "Clarice Starling" and Scott Glenn is low-key and effective as "Jack Crawford." A major part of the film is psychological more than violent as Lecter constantly taunts "Clarice," while she tries her best to manipulate him to help with a case. The by-play between the two is a game in itself.
Hopkins, however, is the actor people remember best from this movie. His portrayal of the refined-yet-cannibalistic serial killer-doctor is one viewers will never forget. I've enjoyed watching him in the sequels, too. The looks on his face, his fascinating vocabulary with intelligent sarcasm and frankness, never ceases to entertain.
"Silence Of The Lambs" has turned into a modern-day "classic." If by some odd chance you have never seen this movie, be warned it is a dark, difficult story to watch at times....but it will get your mind off other things.
This is definitely a film that proves you don't need tons of blood and gore to have a good suspense film. Anthony Hopkins performance as the deranged genius Lecter earned him a well deserved Academy Award and the same was true of Jodie Foster's performance as Clarice Starling. This film should go down in history as one of the greatest suspense films in the history of cinema.
The Silence of the Lambs, having accomplished the rare feat of winning all five of the major Academy Award categories, is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking. Gruesome, pulpish material was transformed by dedicated participants on all levels of production, and a film that would have failed in the hands of many others wound up becoming a modern masterpiece. Taut direction and a superb screenplay might be the best arguments for the film's power, but the flashiest are certainly delivered in the bravura performances of Hopkins and Foster. Their interplay -- and remember, they only share a handful of scenes together -- is nothing short of riveting.
STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little
Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits
Rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is assigned to get into the mind of notorious incarcerated serial killer Dr Hannibal 'the Cannibal' Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to get his evaluation on the elusive Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who's been abducting and killing young women. When a prominent senator's daughter is kidnapped, it becomes a race against time to find her before she is killed and all the while Lecter is playing mind-games with Starling as well as any help he can provide...
The first of Thomas Harris's Hannibal novels to be adapted for the screen, only to be followed some years later with some very lacklustre (but inevitable!) follow-ups, despite it's age this remains one of the most effective chillers of modern times. Despite the mainstream appeal of the film, the grainy lighting and laid-back budget give it an art-house feel that sets it apart from other such films that were as successful. The film manages some effectively disturbing scenes that make it a not altogether pleasant viewing experience.
Performances wise, in a very early role, a young Foster shows her promise for future roles, with a gripping portrayal of naivety and vulnerability here that is very compelling and convincing, even though there are some plausibility problems with someone as junior as her being assigned to do something like that. Hopkins too is brilliant as Lecter, playing a dangerous man behind bars who's ability to get inside your head and see the things you don't want him to see makes him no less dangerous, if not more so, than if he was on the outside. He's certainly received the most acclaim for his role over the years, but in my humble opinion, he's actually over-shadowed (though only slightly!) by Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill, a truly extraordinary psychopath with an unsettling sexuality disorder that is probably one of the nastiest things ever to be seen in such a mainstream film. As supporting FBI agent Crawford, Scott Glenn is impressive but sort of just faded into DTV land after this film.
It's easily one of the most popular films ever made, so it's likely a lot of you are familiar with it already, but with reviews on the so-inferior follow-up films Red Dragon and Hannibal, I thought it only right that I'd finally give this first film a mention. Truly remarkable. *****
With Silence of the Lambs comes some much needed recognition for the horror genre. It is a first-rate production all around. It boasts a witty and suspenseful script based on the Thomas Harris novel, full of great lines. It has marvelous direction from Demme. Demme creates suspense very well throughout and uses some great directorial shots such as the twin frames of Clarice ringing a doorbell and the FBI men breaking into a home. The two lead actors won oscars for their performances...each deserved. Foster is very good in her role, but it is Anthony Hopkins that literally lights up the screen with his complex portrayal of a complex serial killer. Hopkins does the seemingly impossible. He frightens you with his outrageousness and yet illicts some pity/compassion(albeit not a lot) for his situation. He says his lines with reservedness when needed and brashness when needed. The rest of the cast is also quite good with Anthony Heald a standout as a unethical, petty doctor in charge of Hopkins. Of course the story of the other killer is very very chilling as well. A quality film in all aspects!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is a creepy and taken-by-storm experience with the film, background
music is darker than the film itself and too ominous, plot is
brilliantly constructed, conversations are thought-provocative, to
crown the whole, Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkin are the cream. They
take ownership of Clarice and Hannibal respectively, transforming them
into the most unforgettable screen images.
The psychological path of Hannibal is hard to trace. He is so odd a mixture of intelligence, cruelty, insanity, grace and charisma. In the depth, fledgling FBI trainee Clarice is no match of him. She is still naive yet very ambitious. On the trail of the serial killer Buffalo Bill, she's sent to interview him, a psychiatrist-turned-cannibal. Hannibal is willing to provide clues to finding the killer but only in return for personal information about Clarice herself. He calls it Quid Pro Quo. In those mind games, the two dance backward and forward between cannibal and FBI agent, mentor and student, psychiatrist and patient, father and daughter. It is Clarice who breathes life into the multidimensional sophisticated psychopath and Hannibal who nudges the aspiring student FBI agent and helps her achieve her first success in a world of Y chromosome where her guru Crawford uses her, embarrasses her, excludes her; Doctor Chilton regards her no more than a simple-minded woman and tries to flirt with her. Frankly speaking, though no lack of other impressive scenes, it's really the nerves fights between Hannibal and Clarice that carries the film.
Some of the horrible scenes involve Buffalo Bill who, a transvestite, skins his victims, especially woman victims. But the most terrifying one is Clarice's single-handed trace in Buffalo Bill's gruesome den, which also has become another irony to the self-important testosterone-dominated world. Crawford's misjudgment and stubbornness makes him out of the right track, a special anti-terror deployment resulting in vain. But Clarice, though excluded from the business which she should be on, still holds onto her intuition and through on-the-spot investigation finds the serial killer at last. She has to take on him herself. (Demme uses "deceptive cutting" there to enhance the tension.) It is definitely a life-or-death fight, especially when Clarice is in the dark, groping her way in absolute terror. I have no doubt everyone holds the breath when the film rolls to that part.
A gripping film that well deserved its Oscars
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