The Silence of the Lambs Reviews
A brilliant psychological film with simply superb performances. Hopkins nails the role of his lifetime. I have little doubt the film may have failed without his brilliant grasp and delivery on the character. Jodie Foster also does an impeccable job. She is an agent who gets little respect. Her angst, un-ease and the domineering way the men she interacts with treat her, adds a sense of dread and powerlessness that helps define the film. While Hopkins is a dominate force, it takes a very strong actor to be remembered in these scenes. Jodie Foster's timid, yet controlled and paradoxically brave, handling of her character was flawless at elevating the entire film. Buffalo Bill is also a solid creeper villain.
One of the weaker parts of the film is the sort of absurd mechanics of the Dr's final scenes and Starling and Bill's final showdown. It is all a bit unbelievable, but thankfully you are too engrossed to really think about it.
I think part of what makes the dread of the film so real is the relationship foil between Bill and Brooke Smith, as Catherine Martin, and Dr Lecter and Agent Starling. Buffalo Bill is crazy, barely controlled and despicable. He is free and preying on women. He has poor Ms Martin in a well tormenting her. Yet, we unmistakably feel that this caged man talking to Agent Starling is far more menacing, far more dangerous and terrifying. Agent Starling seems more at his mercy than Ms Martin is to Bill. This is truly the mark of profound evil. This masterful dynamic gives this film a lasting psychological power.
Hopkins menace is not steeped in gore or terror but rare, profound authority. We fear the power of villains because they wield weapons, supernatural might or brutality. The good Dr commands our fear through sheer psychological influence. We are never sure what turn he might take, what we are sure of is that it is calculated, cold and there is nothing you can do about it.