Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)
Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling
Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford
Anthony Heald as Dr. Frederick Chilton
Ted Levine as Jame 'Buffalo Bill' Gumb
By Ronnie Angel
Some things get so popular that they become forever ingrained in American pop culture. When was the last time you wanted to punch somebody that said “Git er done”? For me it was about four hours ago. Then again, it was me that said “I like you, I like sex…is nice!” from the Borat movie for the thousandth time just 10 minutes ago…
In case you are wondering, I do have a point here. One of the greatest and most suspenseful horror classics of all time is one of those movies forever burned into American pop culture. Just saying the words “Hello Clarice” will let you know what I’m talking about – Silence of the Lambs.Silence of the Lambs has become quite a phenomenon since it was released over fifteen years ago. It is not common for a horror movie to win an Oscar, and Silence of the Lambs won 5.
The story in Silence Of The Lambs revolves around a rookie FBI agent, Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), involved in the hunt for the latest serial killer on the loose. The killer is called Buffalo Bill (played masterfully by Ted Levine), so named because of his penchant for picking up “big girls” and skinning them to make his own clothing line (I guess?) out of skin (obviously an homage to real life serial killer Ed Gein). Yep, Bill is seriously messed up in the head and very, very creepy.
To add urgency to the case, Bill’s latest kidnap victim turns out to be the daughter of a Tennessee Senator.
The FBI needs help tracking down and catching a serial killer like Buffalo Bill from someone that can explain the way a serial killer thinks. Enter fellow serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins in hands down the best role of his career). Once a respected psychologist, Lector is currently imprisoned in an underground glass-encased maximum security prison cell for several brutal killings involving cannibalism.
The FBI sends Clarice to try and get into Lector’s head and get all the information and clues she can to help find Buffalo Bill. Lector is very, very clever, however, and he ends up the one on top of the situation most of time, striking deals in his favor for more freedom and getting into Clarice’s head with clever manipulation. As more help comes from Lector, who is moved to a new facility in a deal, the closer the FBI gets to catching Bill…but things get out of hand. Lector is planning an escape.
As her dealings with Lector continue Clarice gets better and better at her job – but also gets more emotionally involved in the case than she had planned.
The story in Silence of the Lambs climaxes with Lector’s escape attempt and the tracking down of Bill, but there is much more to it than just that. Silence of the Lambs is shocking, no matter how many times you watch it, as the events unfold leading to the conclusion. Silence of the Lambs truly deserves all the praise and popularity it has received over the years.
Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill is one of the scariest and most realistic villains to ever grace the silver screen. Everything he does and even how he talks will make you uneasy, and his special home dungeon, poodle “Precious” and “studio” make him even more unsettling.
Speaking of unsettling, you might want to cover your eyes during the infamous “man-gina” scene.
As for Hopkins as Lector, I don’t think I can say much that has not already been said about him. Hopkins is purely brilliant in this role. Lector is a different kind of scary than Bill, more like a lion quietly waiting for the right moment to attack. Lector is somebody you would never, ever want to turn your back on.
Of course the one that ties this all together is Jody Foster as Clarice Starling, who plays perfectly the tough but naive FBI agent troubled by her past.
Silence of the Lambs paved the way for many psychological thrillers, using movie ideas such as profiling, realistic looks into the investigation and realistic situations, putting you right in the middle of the story.
If you haven’t seen Silence of the Lambs yet, I have to ask you one question: Why?