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.
Scary to audiences and critics, but never to me. I am not afraid of you, HORROR.
I think what I love most about Silence of the Lambs is it's filming craft. This movie truly heightens your sense to the maximum degree, you are completely and utterly aware of intentions and brooding desires from both Buffalo Bill and Hannibal, but does it completely succeed in feeding these desires? Not entirely, but in many respects it does. The film clearly has a certain essence of expression to it for it's first pointed to be generic yet surprisingly deep hill-billy antagonist. We can see an almost angering cycle of predator transforming into scavenger and a brief victory of innocence immediately terminated by the film's excellent conclusion which indicates a slightly ambiguous, although intentionally intriguing, return to norm. However, I believe Silence of the Lambs may be a little too intrigued with it's fascinating characters to give them any lore or necessary origin, something I was craving to see from Hannibal but oh my mouth was completely watering to see it from Buffalo Bill. This confused moth man, I was likewise confused whether to feel sympathy or not due to the fantastic Goodbye Horses sequence. Nonetheless, Silence of the lambs is a structural master-class and daringly explores decay in it's natural form although it's complete cocooning whittles away at some earth shattering, pivotal messages the film was aiming for.