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The Silence of the Lambs
Year:
1991
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
8.7
Director:
Jonathan Demme
Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling
Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecktor
Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford
Anthony Heald as Dr. Frederick Chilton
Ted Levine as Jame 'Buffalo Bill' Gumb
Frankie Faison as Barney Matthews
Kasi Lemmons as Ardelia Mapp
Brooke Smith as Catherine Martin
Paul Lazar as Pilcher
Dan Butler as Roden
Lawrence T. Wrentz as Agent Burroughs
Don Brockett as Friendly Psychopath in Cell
Frank Seals Jr. as Brooding Psychopath in Cell
Stuart Rudin as Miggs
Maria Skorobogatov as Clarice Starling
Diane Baker as Sen. Ruth Martin
Leib Lensky as Mr. Lang
George 'Red' Schwartz as Mr. Lang's Driver (as Red Schwartz)
Lawrence A. Bonney as FBI Instructor
Jeffrie Lane as Clarice's Father
Storyline: Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter's confidence before the inmate will give away any information.
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Reviews
A Grand Thriller
This is definitely a film that proves you don't need tons of blood and gore to have a good suspense film. Anthony Hopkins performance as the deranged genius Lecter earned him a well deserved Academy Award and the same was true of Jodie Foster's performance as Clarice Starling. This film should go down in history as one of the greatest suspense films in the history of cinema.
2003-07-12
The Lambs Watch in Silence.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Dir: Jonathan Demme / Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Diane Baker: Psychological thriller where the film's core regards interrogation of evil without physical contact. Female victims are found skinned by Buffalo Bill and Hannibal Lector is believed to be able to identify him but every agent who has approached his realm of confinement has been led astray. The Senator's daughter is kidnapped so a female F.B.I. trainee is issued in hopes that Lector will give in to a female. We learn about her through Lector's ability to trespass the mind. Shocking thriller directed by Jonathan Demme who also made Melvin and Howard. Anthony Hopkins brilliantly demonstrates Lector's sly methods of penetrating the mind. He delights in toying with victims, which is why his brutal escape occurred. Jodie Foster is excellent as the young trainee haunted by her father's death. She is intelligent and brave particularly when dealing with Bill in the shocking climax. Ted Levine is monstrous as Buffalo Bill whose one breaking point arrives when the Senator's daughter gets hold of his dog. Scott Glenn is standard as the agent in charge of the case but instrumental at a wrong address. Diane Baker plays a Senator whose daughter is kidnapped by Buffalo Bill. Penetrating thriller will shock your nerves and silence your senses. Score: 9 ½ / 10
2015-05-04
Side by Side
The Silence Of The Lambs is one of those movies that you don't ever want to be finished. The story/plot is intriguing, involving, interesting and makes you stay in the edge of your seat. The crazy characters are very believable and I was very afraid when Clarice was going to meet him for the first time.

Anthony Hopkins did a great job at portraying a nuts psychiatrist and sociopath. He did so well that I find it hard to imagine him as a normal person outside the movie.

Ted Levine was as good as Hopkins at portraying another crazy man. Also, he was very brave to play a "transsexual" man back in 1991 when nobody knew what it was about.

The creepy feelings we get throughout this movie are worth a watch in a rainy dawn, I surely recommend this to thriller lovers.
2011-01-19
Believe me, you don't want Hannibal Lecter inside your head
Once upon a crime, Hannibal Lecter was a manipulative psycho-killer compensating for his incarceration by messing with people's minds. Then Hannibal happened and he suddenly turned into a dandy anti-hero... Watching The Silence Of The Lambs again really puts things into perspective. Jonathan Demme's astute adaptation of Thomas Harris' last good book entwines the horror and detective genres to enduringly shocking effect, while Anthony Hopkins' Lecter and Jodie Foster's Starling fizz up an unsettling chemistry that was utterly lacking in the sequel.

I haven't seen a movie this perfectly wrapped in a while. I recently re-watched it and it blew me away and it only gets better the more you see it.

The performances from everyone are great. Foster sold every scene she was in. But, of course, Hopkins stole every scene he was in and was a powerful anti hero who was scary even when concealed because you know his mind is working at every second. Always planning and he's rarely wrong. His escape was an amazing scene. Levine gives a suitably scary performance but just doesn't stand up to the greatness of Foster and Hopkins.

All the characters main characters are deep people are deep people with clear motivations. The police officers are the complete contradiction to this who abuse their power to do what they believe is right, and end up being wrong. It's clever.

Everything is wrapped together really well, the performances were great and it's full of memorable scenes.

I'm giving The Silence of the Lambs a 10/10.
2013-10-08
This movie takes a real bite out of you!
The normal human being's fear of being attacked, bitten open in a violently impersonal manner and then taken in as food is as old as the first human being's shattering witness of such a primordial act. In the thousands of years of human evolution, intelligence has armored [most of us] against predations of that horrible sort. But even more incomprehensible is an attack, for mere hunger's sake, by one human being upon another! When first we see Dr. Hannibal Lecter, his madness is merely the subject of comment, responsible or otherwise. As we view him [uncomfortably] from the safety of a theatre seat, we can only imagine the deep wells of need which forced him to savage his fellow human beings in this manner, and this makes all the more terrible the awful scene in the Memphis courthouse. Into all this walks Clarice Starling, her innocence and anxiety both touching and troubling. She is essentially tricked into taking the assignment to "interview" Lecter by her superior, Jack Crawford, who callously deems her expendable. She somehow summons the rural courage of her youth, forged from the furnace of her weary sufferings, and becomes the blank sheet for both Crawford's and Lecter's amusement. As the result of being pulled in opposite directions in the murderous tug-of-war between Lecter and Crawford, Starling is almost totally alone in the film. In spite of her genuine liking for Aredlia Mapp, Starling's isolation is nearly so complete as to be claustrophobic. Director Jonathan Demme's finely-nuanced work here is well served. Her enlightenment takes place primarily in darkness, whether the setting is Lecter's cell in the dungeon, or whether the apotheosis takes place in the demon's lair. There are almost no likeable characters in the film save Starling. This makes it easy to root for her to overcome the furies which have pursued her since her tenth year. Clarice's predatory instincts are to bring a vicious psychopath within the scope of punishment. In sharp contrast, the other main characters in the film are possessed of predatory natures of a baser, more primitive kind, whether it is Dr. Frederick Chilton's need for sex, or Crawford's need for control, or Lecter's need to destroy for pleasure. The music score by Howard Shore is reminiscent, in a eerie way, of Bernard Herrmann's work in Psycho. Shore's opening theme foreshadows the loneliness and desperation of Starling's dual quest, which is to kill both beasts: the one without and the one within.
1998-10-22
Dark and Gripping Thriller
Silence of the Lambs was the birthplace of Anthony Hopkins's Hannibal Lecter, one of the finest monsters ever screened. Although this is the middle film in the trilogy, it was made first and remains the finest in the set.

Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is a highly intelligent, very vulnerable young FBI trainee. With a serial killer named Buffalo Bill increasing his body count. Clarice is sent by Jack Crawford (Scott Glen) to attempt to gain any information that she can from Dr. Hannibal Lecter (A brilliant, yet Insane Psyciatrist known as Hannibal the Cannibal) Starling has to gain Lecter's trust, by engaging in very dangerous mind games with the Doctor, and the last person you want in your head is Hannibal Lecter, but without his help, Buffalo Bill's victims will stand no chance.

Foster and Hopkins have a very strong on screen chemistry, and both portray their characters brilliantly, making them realistic and believable. The Scenery matches the mood of the movie, very dark and gloomy for much of the time, and the pockets of suspense interlaced with some imaginative psychological horror make Silence of the Lambs a movie that sets the standard, and the standard is high.

10/10
2005-02-02
How to do a novel adaptation right
One of only a handful of films that successfully adapt a novel to the screen. The movie manages to perfectly capture the thrilling atmosphere of the novel, and for that reason alone, is a strong film in its own right.

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter is chilling right from his first shot. And despite having less than 30 minutes of screen time, his influence is felt throughout the entire film.

Jodie Foster is right at the same level. Not until the end did I notice her seamless transition from a submissive to dominant character. Her performance shone through and carried the film.

The direction is spot on; tight and tense. There is a remarkable buildup of suspense, particularly at one point towards the end that made my heart race.

Perhaps the most amazing accomplishment is that every technical aspect managed to not stick out in an overt way. Instead, they all blended perfectly to create the right mood, which is what film is all about. I cannot recommend this film enough. You get well-crafted writing, outstanding performances, thrilling direction, and an all-together feeling of terror.
2012-12-09
Clarisse, do let me know when lose lambs stop screaming
Arguably the best movie of all time. I understand that the Silence of the Lambs gets a little discredited for being gory and at times horrifying. I have never felt a rush more powerful and exhilarating than when I watched this movie. I've seen it enough where I can now quote it line by line, but the very first time I saw the movie in its entirety, I was stunned. I was blown away. I continue to get that feeling even now when I watch for the 25th time or so. As a whole, it is such a though provoking movie. Think of the plot of Se7en, the Departed, Pulp Fiction, Inception - they all make you think and really understand the movie. To me, Silence of the Lambs does that better than any other film in history. Not to mention how great Jodie Foster as FBI trainee Clarisse Starling and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lector/Hannibal the Cannibal. When you watch this movie, don't take it for its goryness and horror. You have to take it for its deep meaning. The moth, the biggest symbol of the movie, as Dr. Lector says "represents change". As Clarisse hunts down on serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine - excellent job as well), Dr. Lector is enlisted to help her while his genius lies alone in prison. One for the ages. No doubt about it. MUST WATCH>
2014-05-11
Just a lame psycho and a kiddo playing hide and seek
Ever since this one came out I've been reading great things about it, but I didn't get in that bandwagon as I always had the bugging feeling this was just another proverbial ruler without a decent wardrobe. Also I'm not great fan of Foster, neither I'm of Hopkins, but I decided to give this one a try anyway as, even if I didn't have much expectations I was willing to be pleasantly surprised by, fool of me, good plot and decent acting. But what do you know, that 6th sense had kicked up again.

For 75 min. SOTL moves along in so-so territory, as there's nothing in it that would make for a classic. The main story is one that I've seen many times before, mostly in CSI, only difference being that here the police is trying to enroll one nut into helping them to catch another. But all parallels stop there. The characterization is practically nonexistent and after 60 min. one still doesn't know a thing about those cops, as they all act like the oh, so common, stereotypical, law enforcers. As for the two nuts, they are just caricatures. One thing that for 9 seasons made of CSI such a classic was the impeccable characterization, right from to the bosses down to the scruffy guys in the labs, thanks to the superb acting job by all involved--specially Peterson--so much so we'd even mention them as if we knew them personally. Granted, here they had only 2 hours but, please, how many 90-min. movies with unforgettable characters you can remember? This flick is so bad character--wise that not even Foster's is defined by her acting, behavior, but by the bits of life story she tells to Hannibal!. As for Hopkins, he didn't impress me at all; he looks just like another nut of the kind I see everyday in the street or the subway and he's most forgettable trying to scare us with his bad ass stare. Anyway, for 75 min. the flick slumbers along, barely sustaining itself while totally lacking in atmosphere, tension or emotion.

Then the plot dissolves into lameness and stupidity. I'm talking in first place about Hannibal's escape. We are supposed to believe that the tightest possible security measures have been taken--someone even talks of calling the SWAT and cordoning off 10 blocks around-which means they are aware of the risks he represents. Yet in Hannibal's floor there are only two guards with no communication—radio, TV monitor--armed with clubs and maze (while everyone else carry guns). But it gets even worse: Hannibal flees in an ambulance disguised as a wounded cop, implying that all present cops & medics are morons. Later, when it comes to the part in the psycho's place the flick goes into standard Hollywood crap: awful dialogs; general overacting; chaotic camera work, editing--to give "atmosphere"--cliché antics by the lone, enterprising heroine, etc. The flick ends up with an avalanche of feel good clichés—most of the "law & justice prevail" kind, the only thing missing there being the final romantic kiss.

The cinematography is mediocre and specially bad in the scene where they examine the body of a victim. Contrary to standards, they shot the whole scene using--instead of wide or medium shots, to give us the most possible info on the proceedings--one close up after another, specially of Foster's, for no reason at all. What's the obsession with those close ups that litter the whole flick anyway? After a while it gets annoying. But this is just one of many flows. For ex.: what's the idea of portraying the head of a mental institution as a spoiled brat? Why the police ever expected to get a psycho on their side? And why they'd give such a job to a kid who doesn't know how to handle mental patients? Speaking of editing, those flashbacks of Clarice's dad are terribly done.

So, stay away from this one. Just another emperor....err, turkey in emperor's clothes. 2/10
2011-09-10
Taut film-making that results in a chilling and influential psychological thriller
The late Gene Siskel hated "The Silence of the Lambs," thinking of it as being far too gruesome and distasteful and as having zero originality to it. Roger Ebert gave the 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying that he did enjoy the film but that some scenes were lacking, such as the ending.

Siskel missed the point. The chill from "The Silence of the Lambs" doesn't come from revolutionary originality, which it doesn't have. The chill of "The Silence of the Lambs" is in how it maximizes fear and suspense in a plot that one could simply describe as "police on the hunt for a serial killer." It is here where "The Silence of the Lambs" set the bar; it takes a B-movie concept and raises it to the level of a taut A-level thriller.

The plot has the FBI on the hunt for a serial killer known as "Buffalo Bill" (played by Ted Levine). Stuck, the lead investigator (played by Scott Glenn) wants to get the perspective of another serial killer, to try and see inside the psychotic mind. He recruits the young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) to talk to the brilliant and cannibalistic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins). Lecter agrees to help Starling, but only if she will grant him the sadistic pleasure of allowing him to see inside her mind.

Even though the plot is about Buffalo Bill, with Lecter only having 16 minutes on screen in a 2-hour movie, Lecter and Starling are way more interesting and end up being the driving force for the film. In many films, an excellent performance by the villain can steal the show away from the hero. (Tim Burton's "Batman," featuring a brilliant performance by Jack Nicholson as The Joker, is a prime example of this.) In "The Silence of the Lambs," we have strong performances by both of the lead actors. Hopkins' Lecter is clearly everybody's favorite character, but Foster's performance as Starling is powerful enough to not get eclipsed by Hopkins.

Not getting eclipsed is something of a theme for this film. Our heroine is not trying to be heroic. Starling is strong and courageous and could kick anyone's butt, and yet she comes across as vulnerable. She is a woman in a man's world and everywhere she goes, there is a sense of being dominated. She is 5'3" in a film where most other characters are over 6' tall. (The camera often skillfully has Starling occupying only the lower half of the frame; seeing so much space above her head makes her look shorter and more vulnerable.) Her black hair (which is different from Foster's natural light brown) makes her appear paler than she really is. Other characters are always hitting on her. She always whispers and is always giving a nervous smile. Even her slight Southern accent gives her a "country girl" appeal that helps the audience identify with her. Starling is an FBI agent-in-training and is clearly quite skilled at handling dangerous situations, but she still shares our vulnerabilities. As a result of this, her fears are our fears. This is the true skill of Jodie Foster's performance; she manages to play Starling as a woman of great strength and vulnerability at once.

Credit should also go to the film-makers. One strong point is their choice to only be selectively gruesome. This is one key difference between "The Silence of the Lambs" and garden-variety serial killer movies. The latter often derive their scares by showing incredibly brutal images and portraying utterly disgusting scenarios. Fear is generated by the audience's own horrified reaction to what is being shown on screen. "The Silence of the Lambs" does not give in to that temptation though. It casually shows us several rather gruesome images to get us nervous, but then keeps some of the most disturbing stuff cleverly off-camera. Of course, this serves to only make them scarier; what could be so gruesome that not even this creepy film is willing to show it on camera?

I do have criticisms. My main complaint is that Buffalo Bill is a lightweight who left me longing for the much more interesting and menacing Hannibal Lecter. Buffalo Bill is sick, twisted, and downright nauseating, but he also is a coward, who has to resort to trickery and gadgetry to make himself formidable. Lecter, on the other hand, has all the tools he needs right there in his brain. He is the smartest character in the film and he knows it and he loves it. He is so charismatic that he can enter the mind of anyone, no matter how hard they resist. This makes Lecter scary even when he is off-camera. Buffalo Bill is not really all that scary even when he's on camera; he's more just plain gross.

The thrill of this movie is psychological. We don't feel thrilled because of cool action sequences or original plot ideas but rather because of the fear that we can relate to and the mind games that Lecter plays. Something of a void is left in scenes in the latter half of the film, where Lecter is absent. (Here, I agree with Ebert.) Nonetheless, Foster's performance makes up for that. Even in the final showdown with Buffalo Bill, the thrill is still there because we feel Starling's fear, even though the audience has not been particularly scared of Buffalo Bill up until now. (Here, I disagree with Ebert, who feels the showdown is lacking.)

"The Silence of the Lambs" is thrilling and chilling. The main villain is a lightweight, but the secondary villain is among the most menacing and evil in cinema history. I think that after we walk away from this film, we somehow are left with the feeling that, at least for those 2 hours, Hannibal Lecter managed to get inside our own minds as well.
2007-12-28
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