The Silence of the Lambs Reviews
an almost perfect film.
A serial killer who goes by the name of "Buffalo Bill" kidnaps and kills women to skin them and make them into coats. An F.B.I. cadet named Clarice Starling has to confide in a cannibalistic serial killer locked up in prison to help her locate him before he kills someone who he recently captured, Catherine Martin.
When the viewer is first introduced to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Starling is walking down an ominous hallway. She walks past other criminals locked up. The first few she walk by behave as you would expect. One is smiling and saying "Hi" to her, and the last one is jumping up at the prison bars. When she gets to the end of the hall, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is standing up and facing her with a blank expression on his face. He is still and motionless. He says "Good morning" to her calmly. He seems harmless. As Starling continues to talk to him, the viewer has a minor sense of relief for what the film could've thrown at us, but Hopkins' voice gives the viewer a feeling of deception which makes that sense of relief vanish. This is the first time we're introduced to him, and Lecter is able to unnerve the viewer so much by conveying so little. The great scripting and great acting made him quite a memorable character.
Seeing his calmer moments onscreen are very memorable. However, it leaves you wondering what he's capable of. Eventually, about 2/3 of the way into the film, the viewer gets to see Lecter pop in one of the most horrifying and memorable horror movie scenes of all time. The scene is so unexpected, and the sheer creativity of it is out-and-out disgusting to even think about. Watching the film a second time, it's frightening to find out what could've happened to Clarice Starling if their calm meetings had played out differently. However, it becomes very apparent that he wouldn't harm her as he grows to value her company. He never threatens her, and he always acts helpful and nice to her. Also, after he finds out how they both share similar childhood wounds, the viewer loses suspicion that he'll do something bad to her. Also, it took me a little while to pinpoint how that was a very effective piece of dialogue which got me to actualy identify with Hannibal Lecter.
It's a great accomplishment that the film gets us to like Hannibal Lecter. The reason is because he helps Starling locate Buffalo Bill which would also save Catherin Martin from him in the process, and he proves to be very helpful to her throughout the film. Also, the audience senses that he won't hurt her. On top of that, Hopkins performance brings wit and style to the character. The character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter succeeds on so many different levels.
There are several scenes from the film which work very well at terrifying the viewer. The scene when "Buffalo Bill" kidnaps Catherine Martin is a believable technique which seems like it would work in real life. It shows how after you get too close to "Buffalo Bill" for too long, you would reach a point of no return, and by the time you realize that something bad is going to happen, it would already be too late.
One of the most memorable kill scenes from horror movies happens near the final 1/3 of the film. I won't spoil it, but it works very well. Earlier in the film, it hinted that something was up after he stole a character's pen. Once you realize what's going to happen, you're left waiting for Lecter to pop as you've waited to see for a long time. The scene is very gory, and the aftermath of it is even more sickening. When you think that the scene's finally over, the film pulls the rug out from under you, and it shows you a creative, yet highly appalling image which likely won't leave your head anytime soon.
The scene at the end in Buffalo Bill's was an amazing idea for a climax. It is so suspenseful, and as soon as it starts, you have minimal hope that it will turn out good. Then, director Jonathan Demme adds in one final aspect into the movie to up the tension so high that it's one of the most suspenseful climax's ever for a film. He makes it seem clear that Starling won't go home unless she either gets a miracle or gets badly injured in the process. This scene is terrifying, because of the film's clever manipulation of the visuals and the fact that we've come to really like Starling, and we don't want anything to happen to her.
In conclusion, this is definitely a masterpiece, and it's one of the best horror films of all time. Anthony Hopkins' performance was perfect, and this movie should be looked at and studied off of for years to come. Other horror movie directors should study off of Dr. Hannibal Lecter and many actors should definitely try to do what he did. After the viewer witnesses all of the pros that this movie has to offer, it leaves you a brilliant closing scene which lets you go off on a high note. Anyways, I do wish that I could talk about this film longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner.