The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Acting, story, and visuals all work perfectly together

Nothing

 
Movie Info

Movie Name: The Silence of the Lambs

Studio: Orion Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s): February 14, 1991

MPAA Rating: R

silence-of-the-lambs-foster

Always check the corners!

Buffalo Bill is killing girls throughout the eastern United States.  A cadet named Clarice Starling (Jodi Foster) has been called in by Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) to question legendary killer (and cannibal) Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) on the chance he might be able to give the FBI incite on Buffalo Bill.  Lecter opens up to Starling, and starts a game of cat-and-mouse between them as the search for Buffalo Bill ramps up after the kidnapping of a senator’s daughter.

The Silence of the Lambs not only is a great horror film, but one of the best films of the 1990s.  Directed by Jonathan Demme, the film is dark, stark and has no-nonsense, no bells & whistles feel that makes the movie seem gritty and real even today.  The movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1991 with Foster winning Best Actress, Hopkins winning Best Actor, Demme winning Best Director, and Ted Tally for the Adapted Screenplay…a rare feat for a movie that’s considered a horror film.  The film was released on Criterion (Criterion #13) but it is no longer in print (there are new versions).

silence-of-the-lambs-hannibal

I’m not allowed to eat people…and I can play hockey!

The movie is an adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel of the same name, and actually is the second film to feature Hannibal Lecter.  In 1986, Manhunter was released which adapted Red Dragon and had Brian Cox playing the mad cannibal.  The movie had cult success but The Silence of the Lambs helped boost it to greater fame…leaving Cox always being compared to Hopkins.

Hopkins is what helps drive this film.  Though Lecter doesn’t have much screen time, Hopkins makes the most of it and delivers memorable and often quoted lines.  Part of the reason that Hannibal is so scary is that Hopkins is such a non-threatening looking person in real life.  He gives Hannibal an edge that can creep out almost anyone.  Unlike a Freddy, Jason, or Michael, Lecter feels real and could exist in every major city could have a Hannibal Lecter hiding in it.

silence-of-the-lambs-gumb

It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again!

Jodie Foster is probably at her best in this role.  She is small, but believable as a determined FBI agent with ambitions and goals.  She also plays excellently off not only Hopkins, but Scott Glenn and ever character she meets.  She has a certain uncomfortable feel to her, and it feels like her character is trying to put on a mask in the face of the horrors she’s seeing.  She wants to be a professional but can’t necessarily handle what is happening around her.

silence-of-the-lambs-tucked

So if it’s tucked is it considered full frontal nudity?

The movie just is full of iconic moments…yeah, some of them can be made fun of, but they are still creepy.  I don’t think I’d want to run into Ted Levine’s James Gumb on the street even if his dance and “lotion on the skin” moments do sometimes get laughs.  The moment of realization for Foster’s character near the end is still very intense, even after multiple views…that is why the movie is so solid.

The Silence of the Lambs launched Hopkins career and also spawned a franchise.  It was followed by the gory Hannibal in 2001…almost ten years after the first movie.  A remake of Manhunter called Red Dragon which wasn’t bad, and the horrible Hannibal Rising which tried to give Hannibal an origin and to explain his actions.  Writers can’t seem to understand that random “evil” is much scarier than evil that is explained.  The Silence of the Lambs tries none of that and that is why it succeeds.

Related Links:

Manhunter (1986)

Hannibal (2001)

Red Dragon (2002)

Hannibal Rising (2007)

Hannibal—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Hannibal—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Hannibal—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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