Film: The Silence of the Lambs

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Film:

The Silence of the Lambs

Director: Jonathan Demme
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: MGM (Video & DVD)

Based on Thomas Harris’s novel, this terrifying film by Jonathan Demme really only contains a couple of genuinely shocking moments (one involving an autopsy, the other a prison break). The rest of the film is a splatter-free visual and psychological descent into the hell of madness, redeemed astonishingly by an unlikely connection between a monster and a haunted young woman. Anthony Hopkins is extraordinary as the cannibalistic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, virtually entombed in a subterranean prison for the criminally insane. At the behest of the FBI,…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Based on Thomas Harris’s novel, this terrifying film by Jonathan Demme really only contains a couple of genuinely shocking moments (one involving an autopsy, the other a prison break). The rest of the film is a splatter-free visual and psychological descent into the hell of madness, redeemed astonishingly by an unlikely connection between a monster and a haunted young woman. Anthony Hopkins is extraordinary as the cannibalistic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, virtually entombed in a subterranean prison for the criminally insane. At the behest of the FBI, agent-in-training Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) approaches Lecter, requesting his insights into the identity and methods of a serial killer named Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). In exchange, Lecter demands the right to penetrate Starling’s most painful memories, creating a bizarre but palpable intimacy that liberates them both under separate but equally horrific circumstances. Demme, a filmmaker with a uniquely populist vision (Melvin and Howard, Something Wild), also spent his early years making pulp for Roger Corman (Caged Heat), and he hasn’t forgotten the significance of tone, atmosphere, and the unsettling nature of a crudely effective close-up. Much of the film, in fact, consists of actors staring straight into the camera (usually from Clarice’s point of view), making every bridge between one set of eyes to another seem terribly dangerous. —Tom Keogh

Barnes and Noble

One of the most gripping and horrifying thrillers ever, The Silence of the Lambs introduced moviegoers to the screen’s most blood-curdling antihero: brilliant, urbane, softspoken Hannibal Lecter—a psychotic killer and confirmed cannibal. As depicted with three-dimensional fidelity by Anthony Hopkins, Lecter’s a shrewdly manipulative but devilishly charming fiend to whom maximum-security incarceration is merely a temporary setback. Jonathan Demme’s bone-chilling adaptation of the bestselling novel by Thomas Harris initially focuses on FBI agent Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster), following her exhaustive but ineffectual search for a serial killer. She approaches Lecter for help, persuading him to give her valuable insights into the workings of a similarly affected criminal mind. But the importance of Starling’s quest recedes dramatically when the evil genius escapes, and Demme tantalizes viewers with her dilemma: Can she find the killer before Lecter finds her? An intense, unforgettable thriller that confounds genre expectations, Silence draws its effectiveness from a beautifully crafted screenplay rich in characterization, Oscar-winning performances by Hopkins and Foster; and the sure-handed direction of Demme. Ed Hulse

Related Works

Album:The Silence Of The Lambs: Original Motion Picture Score

The Silence Of The Lambs: Original Motion Picture Score

Howard Shore

Book:The Silence of the Lambs: A Novel

The Silence of the Lambs: A Novel

Thomas Harris

A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname—Buffalo Bill—is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, chief of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter—Hannibal the Cannibal—who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

Dr. Lecter is a former psychiatrist with a grisly history, unusual tastes, and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of The Silence of the Lambs—an ingenious, masterfully written book and an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.

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