The Silence of the Lambs
***.7 GM
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Brooke Smith


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When I first watched this film, it was after all the hype had hit. I was still a dumb high schooler, the kinda guy that could go watch "Under Siege" and enjoy it on the story's merits. I didn't see this film in the theater - I waited until the video release, rented it and watched it alone in my basement, but only half-paid attention and dozed off occasionally. Needless to say, I wasn't as profoundly affected by it as a lot of people were.

About ten years later, I watch it again. This time, I can see what people were talking about, why it's such a disturbing film, and why it won Oscars. People like thrillers, but most of them are overdone and have half-ass characters. If you make one with actually interesting, different characters, everyone's gonna go gaga over it, which is what happened with this film. It swept all the major Oscar categories, y'know.

In addition to actual intriguing characters, director Jonathan Demme crafts some exceptional suspense moments - the night-goggles scene, the mix-and-match swat team/Buffalo Bill scene, Hannibal's escape. They're all really well done and really compelling. It's what every film that calls itself a 'psychological thriller' aspires to be, with some disturbing skin-wearing and face-eating thrown in for good measure - giving the right amount of nauseating creepiness in order to make the stakes higher without being gratuitously used for shock value.

Anthony Hopkins manages to make a cannibalistic psychopath entertaining and even a bit of a protagonist. Jodie Foster makes a great Clarice Starling - a smart FBI profiler making her way through the ranks in spite of some casual sexism and her own demons that Lecter draws out of her. Ted Levine is a disturbingly creepy serial killer with a voice ripe for imitation. Scott Glenn is pretty cool as Crawford, Starling's superior on the case, and he thankfully doesn't turn into a major asshole suddenly like a lot of protagonist's bosses tend to do.

It's an entertaining verbal chess match between two intelligent, strong and bent characters. One of them eats people. You don't see that too often in movies.

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