The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
1,283 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Dr.Lecter, I'd like to see you again...
MaxBorg8922 October 2005
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 more.

Best watched with a nice Chianti...

P.S. dear film-buffs, have the lambs stopped screaming?
400 out of 472 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Rare to experience a dark n twisted thriller aided by top notch performances, tight script n direction.
Fella_shibby11 August 2021
I first saw this in the early 90s on a vhs and i still remember how two very old ladies were petrified n blabbering about the movie to my dad and one thing which stayed with me after that conversation was the praising of Hopkins acting by the two grumbling old geezers.

I revisited it in the early 2k on a dvd which I own and was in awe by Hopkins mesmerizing performance.

Revisited it the third time today but this time with my kids as they are 18 now but my wife is still not agreeable.

Everything has been said about this first class thriller n there seems to be nothing left but i jus wanna contribute a lil by praising the performance of Hopkins.

In the entire movie, it is Hopkins' screen presence n footage which keeps u glued.

His character is charismatic but very dangerous that u don't wanna be rude with him.

Some scenes are far fetched but like i said it is the mesmerizing performance by Anthony Hopkins which is the highlight.
35 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
In a Class by Itself
tfrizzell21 July 2000
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.
267 out of 353 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Story And A Character That You Can't Forget
ccthemovieman-117 January 2007
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 smoking cigarettes.

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.
220 out of 298 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"The Godfather" of all thrillers
Smells_Like_Cheese28 August 2004
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 it.

444 out of 647 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Grand Thriller
Sargebri12 July 2003
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.
185 out of 267 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A thrilling must see
FrenchEddieFelson10 August 2019
I just saw, for the second or third time, this cinematographic masterpiece, during an « UGC culte » evening, in Paris. The list of the Big Five Academy Award winners is short. There are currently three of them, in nine decades: It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and ... The Silence of the Lambs (1991). This is not really surprising, this film being excellent, endowed with a script skillfully elaborated by Thomas Harris, with an irreproachable casting including Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster and Scott Glenn. In addition, the director Jonathan Demme delivers a work obviously enjoying an admirable preparatory work.

Without unduly spoiling the script, if you have not seen it yet, by the greatest fluke: a psychopath known as the Buffalo Bill sows terror in the Middle West by kidnapping and murdering young pulpy women, after partially or completely skinning them. Clarice Starling, a young FBI agent, is in charge of interviewing Hannibal Lecter, a well-known former psychiatrist who has also the characteristic of a truly intelligent psychopath focused on cannibalism. Hannibal Lecter is able to provide Clarice Starling with providential information about Buffalo Bill . But he agrees to help her only in exchange for information about the young woman's private life. Between them is established a link of fascination and repulsion.

As a synthesis: a thrilling must see. 9/10 of 10
32 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A truly remarkable film
wellthatswhatithinkanyway16 November 2005
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. *****
115 out of 180 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Perfectly executed dramatic thriller
pooch-812 January 1999
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.
147 out of 215 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Absolutely Brilliant.
Scudder-319 February 1999
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.
478 out of 576 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Class Act
BaronBl00d19 June 2000
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!
95 out of 150 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Truly enthralling film and not one to forget
TheLittleSongbird15 July 2011
I have seen some great movies, old or new. The Silence of the Lambs is an amazing one, while not my personal favourite of the year of 1991 it was a well deserved Best Picture win in my opinion.

Jonathan Demme's direction is superb, the film is shot in a ceaselessly atmospheric manner and Demme never lets the suspense drop. The story from start to finish is enthralling, and the script is tense and thought-provoking.

The Silence of the Lambs is wonderfully acted as well. Jodie Foster is the one who holds the film together and her performance here is one of her most excellent, and I mustn't forget Ted Levine who is very chillingly effective as Buffolo Bill. Anthony Hopkins however steals the film, it is his perhaps most iconic character and he proves that although he is in only a portion of the film his performance lives long in the memory.

All in all, amazing. 10/10 Bethany Cox
23 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Suspenseful doesn't come close!
Clothahump20 March 1999
Great job by Foster and Hopkins. Hannibal's part could have been fleshed out a little more, though (sorry, couldn't resist that one). The book described him in more detail and made him even more reprehensible; the movie could have spent five minutes more and done the same.
16 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very Effective Thriller But Ultimately Overrated
Theo Robertson30 October 2005
It's impossible to comment on SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as being a mere film . Its release was a watershed in popular culture and has influenced a myriad of imitations that are far too numerous to mention . Much of this success is down to director Jonathan Demme who has made the film so effective by coming up with the strikingly simple idea of filming everything in dim lighting which gives SILENCE a moody and brooding atmosphere that was absent from movies in the previous decade . Ironically enough this is as typical of 90s film making as MANHUNTER was of 80s movies . Howard Shore's score also helps the proceedings and Jodie Foster gives a sublime nuanced performance as vulnerable heroine Clarice Starling . Watch the scenes closely when Clarice is in the company of men , don't you get the feeling she has a phobia about the male of the species . Is she a victim of sexual abuse in her childhood ? A lesbian ? We never find out but Foster's performance is multi layered and it's a pity this aspect is never explored in HANNIBAL which sadly deletes this aspect to Clarice

Sadly SILENCE was released with a tidal wave of hype which the film doesn't live up to . Who can forget the stories that upon seeing this at the cinema certain audience members wanted armed escorts back to their cars ! I'm sorry but despite being a good thriller it's not that good and I fail to see how people were turned into quivering jellies unable to sleep with the lights off . I'm also afraid to say that much of the awards heaped upon the film aren't that well deserved either . Foster deserved the Oscar as did the film and possibly Demme too but did Ted Tally for his adapted screenplay ? All he seems to have done is to copy the best bits of Harris's novel wholesale into the screenplay without making an effort to improve anything . and i'll probably be accused of sacrilege but the more times I see this film the more times I ask myself how did Hopkins win the Oscar for Best Actor ? I don't even think Hopkins should have qualified for the Best Actor category since the role isn't on screen long enough and his performance is slightly hammy . Hannibal as played by Hopkins resembles something along the lines of a paedophile rather than a serial killer who has maimed , murdered and munched on adults . Despite having some reservations of Brian Cox as Hannibal in MANHUNTER you do believe his burly presence does have the physical strength to overpower his victims , not so Hopkins

I know it's very difficult , perhaps even impossible , but the best way to enjoy this movie is to erase from your mind the fact that it's one of only three movies to have picked up the Oscar in all five main categories , the fact that it made headlines about being the most terrifying film committed to celluloid , and the fact that it stands as the 28th best movie ever on this website . It is a very good thriller but one that is ultimately disappointing after hearing of the hype surrounding it
90 out of 180 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
the silence of the lambs
auuwws17 March 2021
Masterpiece Movie, the story of the film was interesting and attracted me from the beginning of the film, the acting in the film was dazzling by all the actors, especially from Anthony Hopkins who played the role of Hannibal dazzlingly, I liked all the main characters in the film, the film was a great movie and I recommend anyone to watch it
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hard to beat
drpainters26 April 2021
You'd be hard pressed to find a better thriller to date 2021. Amazing acting, story , pacing. A must see.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the Greatest Thrillers of all Time.
notoriousCASK1 August 2017
The Silence of the Lambs is a masterpiece you cannot miss, it's a masterwork of suspense that blends the elements of horror, crime and psychology into one tight and smooth story. It's only the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay and that imply something about its technical quality as a film. It features expertise level of craftsmanship in all departments of filmmaking, and takes a huge bonus from the exquisite performances put in by its stellar cast. After all these years The Silence of the Lambs remains in a league of its own and is a perfect exemplification of just how great a movie can become when all the right elements come together and work in perfect harmony to form a complete whole.

Based on the novel of the same name, Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. FBI agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a genius psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case of a serial killer called Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), that murders and skins his victims and that Starling as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to make him help with the case.

The direction by Jonathan Demme is marvelous, as the film introduces its chilling sense of dread and has the audience on the edge of their seats, from the moment Howard Shore's ominous score hits the screen till the end of the film, especially during the climax with a lot of perfectly crafted suspenseful and nail-biting moments. The editing is perfect as the pace is methodical from start to finish, and each and every sequence is relevant to the story. The cinematography by Tak Fujimoto is fantastic as it fully succeeds into creating a very dark and brooding atmosphere that captivates as well as terrorize the audience, while also exhibiting excellent camera work that makes heavy use of close-ups which increase the creepiness and tension along with displaying an optimal color palette and minimal lightning from start to finish, which further enhances the darker ambience the story was aiming for. Moreover, the production design team has done a magnificent work as every set piece is meticulously crafted, richly detailed and very well-lit. The script by Ted Tally, also packs a very well structured and tight plot, every character has a well-defined arc, all the themes are smartly addressed, the attention to detail is quite impressive, and the complete story and narrative are perfect.

The performances are incredible. Jodie Foster as Clarice is absolutely brilliant and gives an impeccable performance as a woman who is desperately trying to forget her painful past and yet at the same time tries to prove her worth in a male dominant world. Anthony Hopkins as the genius psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter is the perfect amalgamation of charisma, high intelligence and destructive violence, and gives a bone-chilling and memorable performance that will stand the passage of time as one of the absolute best. The small amount of screen time that Hopkins is given is a definitive testament to his acting capabilities, as with such an elegant and minimal performance, he solidifies himself as one of the most iconic villains of all time. Due to the charisma and electrifying chemistry between the two actors every scene they share becomes an instant classic.

In conclusion, the Silence of the Lambs is one of the greatest films ever made and a masterwork of brilliant direction, smart screenplay, splendid camerawork, tight editing, marvelous score and exquisite performances, that cemented the legacy of both Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster by engraving their iconic characters into the annals of cinema. The film absolutely deserves all the accolades and recognition it gets, for both its contributions to cinema and the immense impact it had on pop culture. Jonathan Demme's magnum opus is an outstanding achievement in genre filmmaking that has inspired and influenced countless thrillers since its release, and is not only the quintessential suspense and psychological horror film but also an ingenious observation of humanity's dark and violent nature and a masterpiece that every film lover must see.
66 out of 103 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
iconic villain
SnoopyStyle5 December 2015
Trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is recruited right out of Quantico by Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) of the Bureau's Behavioral Science Services. He's investigating serial killer Buffalo Bill who skins his female victims. He's interviewing imprisoned killers but Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) refuses to cooperate. Starling is sent to talk to Lecter.

Director Jonathan Demme takes the serial killer genre onto another level. It is brilliantly intense and brutal. It's a solid entry but then there is Hopkins' Lecter. It is an iconic villain for all times. From the moment he first appears, he steals the movie. It's rare that somebody can produce a character that is so original and so memorable. He is so impressive that he actually overshadows the penis-tucked human-skinning lotion-basket transvestite serial killer. Foster is also pretty solid. She brings a competence to the role that is needed for the outrageous villains to shine.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The granddaddy of all serial killer flicks
Leofwine_draca11 May 2014
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is, quite simply, a breathtaking movie. It's the granddaddy of all serial killer flicks, a film that even the almost-as-good SE7EN can only aspire to, a movie that gets into the mind and soul of a serial killer like few others. It inspired a huge sub-genre of similar movies that came out during the 1990s and 2000s, and it's up there with Hitchcock's PSYCHO as one of the most gripping looks at the subject matter of all time.

Where to begin? There's a pitch-perfect Jodie Foster, gradually leading us into the depths of the storyline as the naive FBI agent, and the oft-overlooked Ted Levine who excels as the supremely skin-crawling Buffalo Bill. Of course, the film is dominated by Anthony Hopkins, giving the best and most memorable performance of his career in just 16 minutes of screen time. Hopkins chills you to the bone in this, and Jonathan Demme's direction is a perfect match for his talents.

The storyline is engaging, ably mixing the criminal investigation strands with scenes involving the killers themselves. There are gory and monstrous set-pieces which make your flesh crawl while watching, yet it's all rather restrained and intellectual, a surprise given the subject matter. Most importantly, it's never less than gripping and completely frightening. A true masterpiece of a movie.
15 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Getting A Good Consultant
bkoganbing3 August 2007
It seems as though there is a serial killer out there who's grabbed the daughter of a United States Senator and this guy has zoomed right to the top of FBI's Most wanted. This man's modus operandi is to keep the victims alive for a while before killing them so they're racing against time to find him. Desperate situations call for desperate measures.

The desperate measure is, you want to catch a serial killer, bring in one as a consultant. That's why FBI trainee Jodie Foster goes to visit Anthony Hopkins in prison. Hopkins is not just a killer who eats his victims, he's a brilliant psychologist himself with insights maybe no one else has.

Of course his price are some cheap insights into Jodie Foster's soul, thrills he probably got when he was in practice.

The Silence of the Lambs in less capable hands could have just been another cheap slasher flick. Instead the leads who walked off with the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress give riveting performances of a sick twisted psycho and a woman who became the biggest feminist icon since Sigourney Weaver by confronting some demons of her own. It's the best work that Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster have ever done and let's not forget the Oscars won by Director Jonathan Demme and the Picture itself for being the Best in 1991.

A couple of players who made their marks on television later on also score well here. Anthony Heald who was Buffy the Vampire Slayer's handler plays the psychiatrist in the institute where Hopkins is incarcerated and who Hopkins makes a fool of and says at the end he's far from done with. Also Ted Levine who is Captain Stottlemeyer on Monk plays the serial killer the FBI is trying to catch. Also look for a good performance by Brooke Smith as Levine's potential victim.

The Silence of the Lambs with its taut direction and riveting performances has an appeal far beyond the horror genre. See it and you'll know what I mean.
10 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Masterful suspense
joelmulder966 June 2021
Last week, I decided to give the Hannibal TV series another shot. The first time, I watched up and until the end of season 1, and found myself not liking it and being appalled at the gore. That was a significant number of years ago, and I thought I would appreciate it more, now that I am learning more about the art of film (and in extension, television) making. And that was precisely the case. With that in mind, I decided to also watch The Silence of the Lambs.

I had never seen this movie before, and oh my goodness, is this movie intense. This is the kind of horror I admire. There is barely any jumpscares or wacky visual effects to scare you, this film actually creeps up on you, which is much more terrifying. I especially love how Hannibal Lecter is introduced, which is through the dialogue between other people. Done properly, this technique can provide an effective build-up for a character before he/she is seen on screen.

I could spend more time arguing why I think this movie is worth its five Oscars, but the bottom line is that this movie got me hooked. For the entirety of its runtime, this film reminded me why I love film as an art form. What it can do, how it can stick with me, how it can dazzle and amaze me. All I want to add is: Please go see it for yourself.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Masterpiece, My favorite movie of all-time! ( A+ Movie) My Ratings 10/10
Muhammad_Rafeeq8 February 2020
The greatest horror thriller ever made. Jonathan Demme's psychological horror thriller The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is a masterclass in creative filmmaking, poignant acting, and striking visual storytelling. Demme directs The Silence of the Lambs with an eye for visual metaphors whether it's FBI agent Clarice Starling, played by the endearing Jodie Foster, standing meekly as a short female FBI student among her tall male co-workers. Demme keeps you gripped by showing you crime evidence photos, realistic corpses of victims, cuts to the killer's activities, and showing consultations with an infamous cannibal doctor. Demme's direction is intriguing with a constant unnerving representation of killers or their victims. You are forced to follow Starling's investigation into the brutal killings of a madman named Buffalo Bill. It's a creative cinema masterpiece as it remains always entertaining and genuinely chilling. Howard Shore's score is unsettling with subtle eerie melodies and soaring scary themes rushing around the gruesome crimes herein. Shore composes memorable music for The Silence of the Lambs that continues to frighten any audience that dares to view this classic movie. Notably, Jodie Foster gives her arguably her greatest performance in The Silence of the Lambs, and she was in Taxi Driver! Foster brings a sincere warmth, sympathetic trauma, inspiring gusto, and engaging intelligence to her role as Clarice Starling. She's an ambitious and cool FBI woman with top ranking in her class and a desire to become a real FBI agent. I love how Foster depicts the investigative process as serious and rational, especially in the face of crazy, seemingly random killings. Foster finds Clarice's earnest approach to communicating with a flesh craving cannibal and brings Clarice a clarity of conscious and morality that is fascinating in every scene. I appreciate Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs more with each viewing of Jonathan Demme's iconic film. Of course, most remember Sir Anthony Hopkins in his groundbreaking performance as serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter also known as Hannibal the Cannibal. Hopkins never blinks to throw you off balance in his imposing staring portrayal is simply marvelously creepy. Hopkins boasts a frightening stocky stature and suddenly violent physicality to his Hannibal that makes his Lecter even scarier than Brian Cox's archetypal portrayal back in Michael Mann's Manhunter. Hopkins plays the psychological torture by the doctor's words toying with Clarice to perfection. He is curious and cruel with malicious intent and shocking again and again. Hopkins will never not scare me anytime I see him as Hannibal Lecter. I should mention Scott Glenn is great as the FBI head Jack Crawford. His accidental sexism is beautifully portrayed by the nuanced Glenn. He is steadfast as a lawman, but always belittles Clarice, while encouraging her work. It's an interesting bit of acting and writing for an interesting character. Anthony Heald is so slimy and creepy and the sadistic narcissist Dr. Frederick Chilton. Last, but surely not least, Ted Levine is absolutely terrifying as the serial killer Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb. His feminine body language, effeminate voice, lithe appearance, brutal physicality, crafty killing, and playful attitude all culminate in the vicious atrocity of Buffalo Bill's character. Levine plays up the fact that Bill thinks he's a transsexual so well that you are fearful of his sudden changes in personality and masculinity. He embodies both masculine and feminine traits, thus creating a nebulous figure in Buffalo Bill. His character can be anyone and that's what makes him so scary. Levine's acting during the "tuck" scene as well as while meeting Clarice is just wonderful acting. Ted Levine is more versatile than I feel critics and audiences are willing to give him credit for as Levine is every bit a monstrous and scary as Hopkins' Hannibal. Overall, The Silence of the Lambs demands to be seen and will haunt you forever after witnessing all its glorious filmmaking and stunning crime.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Silence of the Lambs is hailed as one of the best films in film history, pushing the boundaries of its genre and landing well in the mainstream.
fernandoschiavi11 October 2021
Jonathan Demme's 1991 adaptation of Thomas Harris's psychological horror novel, The Silence of the Lambs, is hailed as one of the best films in film history, pushing the boundaries of its genre and landing well in the mainstream.

In the 1990s, having a woman in front of a thriller was not very common. Silence of the Lambs is filmed entirely from the point of view of Foster's character, who challenges the male sovereignty of his work environment and training and needs to prove his competence in every blessed scene. I graduated from UVA, doctor. This isn't a beauty school. Demme is subtle in putting us in the shoes of Clarice Starling. The male characters are always talking directly to the camera or staring at it uncomfortably, while it is the agent who sustains their looks and teasing sideways. This exchange of positions places the spectator intimately connected to the protagonist's feelings, reflecting her cloying discomfort and making us her allies.

And, in fact, the heroine's strength only got the proportion it deserved due to Jodie Foster's tough and resistant interpretation. Inside an elevator surrounded by men, Clarice looks up. In a room full of police officers, she raises her voice and asks everyone to leave. There is no way to compete with her protagonism. Her villains are far from limited to just psychopaths - it's Dr. Chilton reducing her beauty, it's Jack Crawford isolating her from an argument with the local police, it's every suspicious look from a co-worker. Even so, the character doesn't allow this to affect her perfect career performance; it imposes itself and makes them apologize.

Interestingly, it is Hannibal who understands her and helps her in her quest for self-acceptance. The psychiatrist treats her like one of her patients, demanding personal accounts in exchange for her help in discovering Bill's whereabouts. Quid pro quo. From the duo's first meeting, it's clear who Clarice's main partner is, no matter how morbid the situation is, and Jonathan Demme squeezes his actors' talent to the hilt to make every interaction between the character's spectacular. Not that it was a difficult task - Hopkins, for example, improvised the scene that mocks Starling's southern accent, which generated a genuinely offended reaction from the actress.

In the investigation against Buffalo Bill, the star of the show is the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the FBI. The inspiration for The Silence of the Lambs came from the same source as the basis for Mindhunter: interviews with serial killers conducted by John Douglas. The agent was the direct reference for the creation of Jack Crawford, even though Scott Glenn's character doesn't please him all that much. Thomas Harris, author of the book and former police reporter, followed closely the agency's routine to develop psychological profiles of criminals and arrive at its Hannibal Lecter, the starting point for portraying serial killers as contained, cool but cold figures. Extremely smart.

Anthony Hopkins was not content with just acting. He investigated real personalities, visited prisons and suggested changes to Collen Atwood's costumes to make the character appear more spiritual. All the actor's precision and dedication generated results: Hannibal, the Cannibal is today one of the most striking villains in Cinema - there are those who say the most striking. His mesmerizing figure left the production scared from the first take, which was marked by whispers more akin to hissing, a glazed reptilian gaze with a minimum number of blinks and that controlled and sullen posture. No wonder, his figure is the most talked about when you think about O Silêncio dos Inocentes. Even though Hannibal works as a tool for Clarice's trajectory, her influence and sobriety lull her right away, since, according to the descriptions of others, the agent expected some kind of out of control freak like Miggs himself in the next cell. Icy and unrepentant - Hopkins admitted that the direct inspiration for her interpretation of Lecter was the 2001 HAL 9000 computer: A Space Odyssey - Clarice elicits some sympathy from the psychopath, urging him to help her while he analyzes and plays with her with their lambs. So, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?

Even though the balance of The Silence of the Lambs after 30 years is generally positive, Buffalo Bill's problematic representation remains a relevant agenda. Ted Levine's killer, who delivers a sixth Oscar-deserving performance for the film, kills and skins women to create his own fur clothing and, as the work itself characterizes, alters his identity. However, the use of the word transsexual is cited in the film as a doubt about Bill's condition, and despite being reinforced that the killer is not a trans person, his representation received harsh criticism from the LGBTQIA+ community - several movement activists protested on the outskirts of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the 1992 Oscar ceremony against this problematic in Hollywood.

Levine's character is delicately unstable, a jumble of feelings and expressions. Buffalo Bill, Jame Gumb's alter ego, has its story narrated in parallel. He deceives his victims, like young Catherine Martin, and chaotically dumps them in his basement so that their skin goes limp. However, the character's emotional out of control makes him fascinating, with Levine's pomp and outrageous screams that bespeak the unexplored depth his assassin offers. Gumb yearns for a change that will make him emerge from the cocoon as a new creature, more beautiful, freer. He doesn't notice Clarice on her trail until it's too late and, ironically, her beautiful moths are the missing piece of the agent's puzzle.

Another great triumph of the production is Craig McKay's editing. There is no scene more interesting than the moments before Clarice and Jame meet. Jack Crawford guarantees: we've already got him. A prepared team circles the suspicious house, police with guns drawn await the signal. The doorbell rings. McKay and Demme play with us, and it's not SWAT waiting at the psychopath's door. The surprise is only followed by an indignant laugh. The film's final moments don't miss a beat and, after a harrowing night vision scene, Bill's arc ends in the almost majestic way the character would have liked. In another passage, in partnership with Kristin Zea's art direction and McKay's unique editing, Hannibal stars in the scene that legitimizes the film's insertion in the horror genre. McKay gives little hints of what's going to happen: the pen, the truncheon, the spray, the handcuffs. We look forward to the disaster. Trapped in a cage, like a downed bird, Dr Lecter delivers his blow. Thorough, sadistic and committed, Hannibal has fun, as if he were playing a game in which opponents are already losing. His statement is theatrical - poor cop Boyle is disemboweled as if preparing for a flight; spotlights positioning it backlight to mark the display. Fabulous cruel.

Ted Tally, in developing the text, managed to map out the main aspects of Thomas Harris' novel and wisely transform them into cinematic material. Over six years of dedication to the book, the writer built his characters with caution and complexity, a detail that in the film version he was also respected. In its structure with parallels, the film features two mentors fighting with detachment, that is, Lecter and Crawford, references to Bill and Starling, also against each other, in this exquisite narrative for being mill metrically calculated in its dramatic and aesthetic development. Kristi Zea's production design, for example, is an industry that has remained based on many studies of the profiles of the killers that inspired the creation of the story. Francis Bacon, the controversial painter of human flesh, a controversial figure in the 20th century visual arts, served as a reference for some passages, in particular the scene of Hannibal Lecter's attack on the police, a passage close to the decisive moments of this narrative with orchestrated musical conduction by Howard Shore, composer of the firm, enveloping percussive texture, melancholy in some parts and terrifying in others, best soundscape in the franchise based on the literary universe created by Thomas Harris. The costumes signed by Colleen Atwood are also assertive, presenting Clarice with clothes and makeup without any shine and excesses, visually conveying the researcher's discreet, serene and solitary personality.

Jonathan Demme inherited the direction of The Silence of the Lambs from Gene Hackman, who intended to command and star in the feature film. While it's an interesting exercise to try to imagine how Lecter would be played by Hackman, Demme's choices were so right that it's hard to think about this production any differently. Demme conceives images with a constant close-up presence, with a view to bringing Hannibal Lecter closer to the audience and causing a feeling of fear and discomfort. Another industry strategy was to establish the point of view so that we could follow on stage what was closest to the eyes of the heroine Starling. Many passages emulate the character's gaze and allow us to understand the story from her point of view. When at the end, in her confrontation with Buffalo Bill, she is plunged into the darkness of the antagonist's trap, we enter the same discomfort zone as the character, anguished for not knowing if she will manage to emerge alive from the horror journey established by the cornered psychopath. Still on aesthetics and visual elements, it is important to note the presence of the cat as a constant symbolic element, in addition to the moth of death, inserted in the throat of its victims as a mark of the murderer.

Three decades have passed, but it could be 30 days. The world is not the same, but Jonathan Demme's masterpiece keeps tinkling, with some very well-founded scratches. The Silence of the Innocents triumphs in every way.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Some Careless Stitching
LeonLouisRicci2 May 2013
Heaps of praise have been given to this multiple Oscar winner by Critics and Fans alike. It is sometimes disturbing, sometimes terrifying, and sometimes the Characters are engaging. Sometimes.

The Film is inconsistent in both style and substance. There are way too many close ups. After a few, the intended uneasiness is lost. Most of the sets are attractively unappealing and does give the sense of a forbidden place.

A striking performance from Hopkins but some of his cryptic inclusions using anagrams are uninteresting and at worst confusing and make no or little sense of irony. Jodie Foster seems forcing it, especially when asked to reveal some secret recalling the title of the Book and Movie. There are also some less than brilliantly enticing lectures from Hannibal about coveting and a scribbled note that is laughably sophomoric and we're off to catch the truly creepy Buffalo Bill.

Overall it adds up to be less than it seems. Some clever stuff but it is carelessly sewed together and with some tugging starts to unravel. Overrated, but influential, with some disturbing and dank scenes that make this a bumpy, irritating, and not quite completely satisfying ride to the Dark Side.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A work of cinematographic art!
jp_9131 October 2021
"The Silence of the Lambs" is the smartest horror-thriller ever filmed, with a spectacular screenplay based on the novel of the same name written by Thomas Harris, which in turn was based on the American serial killer Edward Theodore "Ed" Gein (for the character Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb) and in the Mexican murderer Alfredo Ballí Treviño (for the character Hannibal Lecter). The script masterfully adapted by Ted Tally plays with suspense, mystery and horror in a way never before matched, touching on subjects of psychology and criminology. The performances of Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins and Ted Levine are superb, leaving their characters as icons of cinema and pop culture around the world. Tak Fujimoto's cinematography is a visual enchantment, the music composed by Howard Shore is an aural delight, and Jonathan Demme's cinematographic direction is a marvel that has no equal. "The Silence of the Lambs" is the only horror film in history to win an Oscar in the category of Best Film of the Year, being since 1991 a film that became an instant classic. 30 years later, Hannibal Lecter continues to be an icon of horror that makes an impression on audiences. "The Silence of the Lambs" the masterpiece of the '90s, unsurpassed.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed