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The Silence of the Lambs
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
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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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.

FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling on assignment enlists the help of confined psychopath and psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter to capture a serial killer he is familiar with.
"The Silence of the Lambs" deserves its recognition as a classic and one of only three movies in history to win the "big 5" Oscars. The protagonists were brilliantly portrayed. Hopkins very much adds to the story through his creepy performance. His articulate speech and refined southern English accent were jarring as he rarely blinked and calmly expressed his cannibalism. The way Lecter masterfully picked at Starling's insecurities while she tried to get his assistance in finding Buffalo Bill made the character all the more terrifying. Foster, unsurprisingly, is extremely believable as a young woman who wants to prove her worth for her future occupation by tackling the ambitious case. The directing flows smoothly. Great use of extreme close-ups are used to see the actors' emotions and connect with them. The flashbacks were introduced before they seamlessly illustrated the effects Lecter's prodding conversations has on Clarice, making these scenes easy to follow and making Foster's character more of a protagonist. On a side note, I appreciated the conscientious effort made to include a diverse cast in the film, with African- Americans featured prominently in important secondary roles. With that being said, I did feel that the movie was not perfect. The way Clarice finds a lead as to where Buffalo Bill is hiding seemed far- fetched to me. I felt the case could have been further developed before Starling reached the conclusion she arrived to. Moreover, I felt that Buffalo Bill could have used more of a back-story than what is given in order to increase the depth of his character. While some insight is given by Lecter, it is not enough to understand what caused the gender/identity issues that drive Bill to kill. This made his character seem a bit two- dimensional as the antagonist of the film. In contrast, I found Lecter's character rich in depth, as he would be considered a bad guy unless he was helping to find another mentally ill murderer. His character does not hold back his psychopathic ways or complete, self-centered disregard for the well- being of others if it doesn't suit his needs. All in all, this was an incredibly well done film that could probably only be improved if not for time restraints.
Great, tense thriller
Great, tense thriller.

An FBI agent-in-training, Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) is given an assignment to interview infamous serial killer, Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). He has been imprisoned in a mental hospital/prison for the last eight years. The reason to seek out Dr Lecter is that another serial killer, "Buffalo Bill" has killed and skinned five woman and the FBI feels Dr Lecter might have some insights into who he is. Then Buffalo Bill kidnaps a Senator's daughter and finding him becomes even more urgent.

Great psychological drama. Plot is fine, though one or two developments felt a bit contrived. As much a character-driven drama as a plot- driven one, as we have a battle of wits between Lecter, Starling, a psychiatrist and Buffalo Bill and individual personalities play a part in the outcome.

as the movie progresses the tension is ratcheted up well by director Jonathan Demme. The last few scenes are incredibly tense and claustrophobic.

Great work by Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. Well deserved his Best Actor Oscar. Jodie Foster is solid as Starling and also got an Oscar for her efforts. Decent supporting cast too.
Silence of the Lambs, an emotional ride of disbelief and terror
The 1991 suspense thriller, Silence of the Lambs, finds Clarice Starling, actress Jodi Foster, as a student at the FBI academy in Virginia. She's been chosen by her instructor, actor Lawrence Bonney, due to her noticeable keen senses, to visit with Dr. Hannibal Lecter, actor Anthony Hopkins, an incarcerated murderer. The intention is that Starling can use Lecter's insight into the mind of a murderer to find Buffalo Bill, actor Ted Levine, a serial killer whose victims are young girls.

The theme of this film is control or power. In the film Clarice Starling is controlled by her drive to succeed as an FBI agent. She also has not found the power to control her memories of her childhood and the screaming of the lambs, which through her dealings with Dr. Lector she realizes. Ironically Dr. Lector himself, through his ability to manipulate minds, is perfectly able to control any and all situations; even through his incarceration has the power to affect others. Buffalo Bill on the other hand believes himself to be a transsexual and had been turned down for sex change surgeries from all major hospitals in the area. Therefore, his only way to express his control was by abducting young girls and murdering them and using their skin to create a woman's body. Ironically enough there is a pattern here. The majority of the power and control struggles are between Clarice and the men throughout her life and the story line, and with Buffalo Bill and his sexuality, and the young girls that he kills.

The lighting and the angles used in the basement scene where Agent Starling was in the home of Buffalo Bill attempting to arrest him also aided to the theme of control. Buffalo Bill had shut off the lighting to the basement, leaving Starling unable to see a thing. Consequently, Buffalo Bill had on night goggles and was able to see every move Starling made. A terrified Starling scrambled around the basement, although blinded, searching for Bill. Finally, the simple sound of the trigger of Bill's gun being pulled back was all it took for Starling to locate bill and shoot the deadly shots that ended his terror (Bloch 1960). The overall lighting of the scenes throughout the film also aided to the theme of control. Early on the scenes tend to be more dark and dismal, but it seemed as though as Clarice gained more control, by having increased confidence, more insight, more acknowledgment from Crawford, and more trust from Lector, and got closer to solving the crime, the lighting itself became brighter throughout.

The plot of the movie is to find a missing girl in West Virginia and to end serial killer Buffalo Bill's rampage. Special agent Jack Crawford, actor Scott Glenn, chose Cadet Clarice Starling for the task of interviewing a psychotic murderer Dr. Hannibal Lector in hopes that he could aid in the arrest of Buffalo Bill. Throughout the film Starling runs into obstacles and snares that seem to stand in her way, however her drive in solving the crime is stronger than those things standing in her way. One such obstacle is Dr. Frederick Chilton, actor Anthony Heald. Dr. Chilton is, to me, a little squeaky, weasel type character. He is out for self gain only and is trying to use Lector and his knowledge for his own benefit. Ultimately, Dr. Chilton met his doom in the end of the film by none other than Dr. Lector himself. After a botched attempt, at the direction of Jack Crawford, to find the most recent missing girl, Crawford and Starling were not permitted to speak to Lecter further. However that did not stop her from attempting to find and speak to him in attempt to find the killer. Although the male FBI agents had their leads, Starling had her own, and she was the one that ultimately solved the case.

I can compare the theme of control and power of this film to that of Alfred Hitchcock's film Psycho. This film also has heavy displays of gender and power. The circumstances that stand out to me most are that of mental illness displayed in both films, the way that Norman Bates and Buffalo Bill have similar conflicts and are somewhat trapped in their roles and act out in a sinister way. There is one particular scene that I recall that immediately brought to mind the comparison of the two films. The scene where they were reviewing pictures of some of Buffalo Bill's victims showed a young girl lying face down, naked. Her eyes were wide open (Bloch 1960), and as they showed a close up of that picture I instantly saw the shower scene where Janet Lee lay on the bathroom floor, eyes wide open, and the shower water running (Bloch, 1960).

Overall, I rate this movie very high. The suspense thriller allows the viewer to enter into the minds of Agent Starling, Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill. It exhibits the affects of control and power, be it strong and weak, psychologically stable or unstable, educated or uneducated, male or female. Silence of the Lambs, takes us on an emotional ride of disbelief and terror as we see the story unfold.
excellent performances, great writing
Silence of the Lambs is a psychological thriller that positions its most dangerous (and interesting) character in a prison cell for much of the screen time, so his character can be shown through intuitions, subtext, hindsight narrative and general creepiness.

That character is Anthony Hopkins as "Hannibal Lecter", a cultured psychiatrist imprisoned among psychiatric criminal scum who longs for decent human contact or escape, except he himself has a history of killing people and eating the mutilated parts.

All of this is described off-screen, and the film doesn't indulge in unpleasant gore or cheap shock effects - the films main secondary character is Buffalo Bill, a man who applied for gender reassignment, but Lecter explains he was repeatedly denied on basis of his psychological profile. Due to repeated abusive childhood trauma, has become an anonymous, dysfunctional recluse who randomly assaults and kills women. Lecter suggests that his victimhood narrative contributes to his inhumane treatment of others, he drops other details and secrets about the killer but isn't fully cooperative about providing a complete psychological profile of the killer due to the indignity of his life in prison.

Clarise Starling is an FBI rookie, chosen for her attractiveness, to get information from Hannibal Lecter on his former patient and contact Buffalo Bill. The reverse-symbolism of having Dr Lecter behind bars whilst Starling is just beyond them is a brilliant bit of staging, as much of the film's subtext is about the gender coding of behaviour, identity and social roles.

Its also genuinely scary, but mostly on the level of dialogue and performance, Silence of the Lambs is rightly considered one of the best films of all time in the drama/thriller/psychological horror category, also the police procedural scenes are taut and realistic, or as realistic as you could expect. A second underlying theme of the piece is that the state ultimately protects its own interests, but is unable in the last instance to truly protect the public from crime.

There is a 'happy ending' of sorts in the picture, in that Starling, a lone female FBI agent in a predominantly male service, overcomes a male aggressor mentally and physically. An empowering ending that's more of a relief than an actual closure.

Silence of the Lambs is brilliant, but also the hubbub surrounding the films release and its subsequent awards greenlit some terrible sequels where this movie's lead, director and screenwriter didn't even contribute. Some audience members aren't aware but this film bares similarities to the previous Thomas Harris adaptation "Manhunter", released as a film in 1986. Later films in the "series" are a pointless cash-in on the famous character Anthony Hopkins embodies in this film.
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.
A Story And A Character That You Can't Forget
I'll never forget my first viewing of this movie at the theater and will always look back fondly on it for one reason: helping me quit smoking cigarettes.

I read the book first, was fascinated by it, and couldn't wait for the film to come out. That was the day I picked to quit smoking and I knew this movie would take my mind off that matter. I was expecting an intense movie and I got it. Little did I realize how well-received this film would be and how it propelled Anthony Hopkins to super-stardom.

Although entertaining, this is not always a fun movie to watch, especially with the scenes with Ted Levine who plays the killer, "Buffalo Bill." "Bill" and his kidnapped young woman are sick and profane people, respectively, and their scenes are very unpleasant. This movie is not for the squeamish with those and other scenes involving the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins). There also is some extreme crudeness in the jail/dungeon where Lecter and other inmates are held.

Jodie Foster is excellent as the FBI agent "Clarice Starling" and Scott Glenn is low-key and effective as "Jack Crawford." A major part of the film is psychological more than violent as Lecter constantly taunts "Clarice," while she tries her best to manipulate him to help with a case. The by-play between the two is a game in itself.

Hopkins, however, is the actor people remember best from this movie. His portrayal of the refined-yet-cannibalistic serial killer-doctor is one viewers will never forget. I've enjoyed watching him in the sequels, too. The looks on his face, his fascinating vocabulary with intelligent sarcasm and frankness, never ceases to entertain.

"Silence Of The Lambs" has turned into a modern-day "classic." If by some odd chance you have never seen this movie, be warned it is a dark, difficult story to watch at times....but it will get your mind off other things.
Very Well Written
I have seen lots and lots of films, but none were ever so well written like Silence of the Lambs. The characters are amazing and there is a lot of shown development with them, especially with Hannibal Lecter, who has to be one of cinemas greatest Villains. The film tells a gruesome story that you want to leave your memory immediately after you've watched it.

The Silence of the Lambs is more a thriller than a horror. There are few intense/scary/suspenseful scenes, but besides that it's just a story of a creepy mystery. Beware an awesome plot twist awaits you.

I'll would like to keep on writing, but I'm having an old friend for dinner…
A thriller that never fails to grip you after multiple watches
*Very slight spoiler within the second paragraph, and big spoiler in third* Silence of the Lambs is a must watch for thriller fans all around, with a story that will entice you within the chase to catch a serial killer.

The plot involves Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) trying to catch a serial killer with the help of Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), another serial killer already captured with insight into the case. The dynamic between Clarice and Hannibal is enthralling, with Clarice working through Hannibal's cryptic clues about the case and witnessing the growing interest Hannibal has in Clarice, especially as more of her personal life gets revealed to him and we have to wonder what he will do with the information he has obtained.

The tension within this film has to be one of the biggest strengths of the film. Every scene with Hannibal and Clarice has you feeling the tension as you become enthralled within every interaction. Special mention also has to go to a scene near the end of the movie, which I will just refer to as the "night-vision scene" which manages to make me worry for Clarice every time I see it despite knowing what will happen at the end.

One criticism of the film I have however is with Hannibal's involvement within the movie and how it's presented. The movie presents him as an intelligent and extremely manipulative and dangerous person. However, it seems like he only knows anything about this case because he just so happens to know about the serial killer and details about him already, so rather than him showing his intelligence. If you wanted a film which actually sees him working out who the serial killer is, then Red Dragon is probably the better film within this one instance.

In conclusion, Silence of the Lambs is a fantastic film, and certainly one of the strongest entries within the Hannibal franchise (this and the Hannibal TV show are neck and neck in quality), and the strongest within the movie entries.
"The Godfather" of all thrillers
I've seen way too many thrillers. You name it: "Identity", "Seven", "The Usual Suspects", etc., etc., etc. I remember my friend being so obsessed with "Silence of the Lambs", that it drove me crazy. And I hated the movie naturally and refused to see it. But everyone told me that I have to see this, so I let my guard down. And had an open mind, and I'm glad I did. My friend was right, this is a great movie. It is so well acted, I couldn't even describe. I loved "Silence of the Lambs" and would recommend it to anyone. It's creepy and exciting. Trust me, you'll love it.

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