Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs, 1991
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Nominate for 7 Oscars, Won 5
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Lead Actor, Best Lead Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay

The Silence of the Lambs is a movie that was hyped up for its gore and horror. It's a film I heard described by middle school friends as the film that kept them up all night at sleepovers, and when mentioning I had to watch to for this project, everyone always seems to be like "oh boy, have fun...that movie is scary!" So this is kind of why it's the 3rd last film I've watched. People hyped it up and made me think I was going to be terrified by this film. Part of that was the fact that I like to go in without too much knowledge of what the film was actually about. I had no idea that it was more of a crime/mystery film rather than a straight-up horror. I really should've known better, I suppose.

Clarice Starling is a young FBI agent, and still a student, who is asked to help with the case of Buffalo Bill, a man who kidnaps women and skins them. She is asked by her boss to enlist the help of Hannibal Lecter, a man who is also a psychopath, but was also a brilliant and respected psychologist. Hannibal doesn't plan it easy though. He doesn't talk much to anyone but seems to take a liking to Clarice. However, things get more complicated and the countdown is on when Buffalo Bill kidnaps a Senator's daughter, and Clarice must gain Lecter's confidence if they want his help.

Admittedly the film was sometimes graphic. But it was never overly graphic or unnecessarily. Most of the gore is seen at a distant or is seen in FBI crime evidence photographs (whatever those are called). Every so often we do come in closer, but it's never really gratuitous, which I did very much appreciate.

 The back and forth between Clarice and Hannibal are the films most interesting parts, as you know they are both brilliant but both are willing to play games to get what they want. Both are driven and focused, but in different ways. Jodie Foster as Clarice was so fantastic. She was so nuanced and precise and really encapsulated all of Clarice. She lets emotions through the cracks but expertly never fully reveals herself until near the end. Anthony Hopkins, on the other hand, was absolute perfection as Hannibal Lecter. While his role may have been someone tarnished since 1991 with the amount of copycat characters, Hopkins delivered this role to absolute perfection. He was quiet and reserved but you could always seem something going on behind his eyes. So much of his acting came from the eyes and from expressions. In fact, pretty much everyone involved gave some good performances here. Often, when you have hostages with small roles, they aren't the best performances but even Brooke Smith as Catherine Martin put out some solid work with her limited material.

The film was very tautly filmed and had the perfect level of intensity and edge of your seat action. A favourite scene was the very end, right before the FBI are about to raid the house. If you've seen the film, you know exactly what scene I mean. This was expertly edited and was such a fantastic moment in the film that it leaves your heart beating really fast for a moment, especially when you realize exactly what has just happened. The ending of the film in its entirety is especially heart-pounding.

Overall, I didn't find this movie scary. Books like these, or similar, are the ones I love to read. The weirder the crimes the more interesting it is, even though it's all pretty creepy and gross. However, while movies that are like this aren't necessarily up my alley, this one was very well done, well filmed and was just really good. The acting was spot on, the story was incredibly interesting and perplexing and the back and forth between Clarice and Hannibal made it all the better. While this film wasn't perfect, it was definitely quite a thrill and was expertly made.

Acting- 9.5/10 
Directing- 9/10 
Screenplay- 8.5/10 
Visuals- 7.5/10 
Music- 7.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 8/10 
Entertainment- 8/10 
Rewatchability- 7/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 8/10 
Overall Package- 8/10       

Total: 81/100

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