Caught somewhere between a psychological thriller and an all out horror, Silence of the Lambs brings something unique and equally compelling to the screen. A film that has inspired the horror genre for almost two decades, Silence of the Lambs captured the minds and opinions of the world with critics labeling the film ‘too gruesome’, gay rights activists slamming the portrayal of the transgender villain and lesbian groups commending the film for centralising around a female – FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster).
Silence of the Lambs begins with FBI agent, Starling, weaving her way through a training obstacle course. From this opening sequence we can gather two things about the agent – she’s a little vulnerable but she’s quietly strong as she makes her way up the ladder in a male-dominated industry. She is thrust into a murder case revolving around several plus-sized women found flayed in the street and a man known only as ‘Buffalo Bill’. This is how she comes across Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a doctor imprisoned eight years ago for cannibalism. Lecter becomes instantly intrigued by the woman and offers to help her – in return for information on her past.
We can see the internal struggle she faces as she longs for the information to solve the case and prove herself as an FBI agent but the words of her boss resound in her head “believe me, you don’t want Hannibal Lecter inside your head”. Despite warnings she succumbs to Lecter. We are hurtled through some shocking and suspenseful scenes as Starling unravels the case and unknowingly strengthens the bonds between herself and the cannibalistic doctor. As the film reaches a gruesome climax, viewers themselves might find it hard to see the intellectual and hypnotic Lecter as the villain when faced with the transgender, skin-stealing murderer of Buffalo Bill. Or maybe we just like the character too much to care that he eats humans.
Even so, Silence of the Lambs proves to be a horrific delight, not only the brilliant acting but the directing, cinematography and use of setting.
I give this film four and a half pan fried brains out of five.
(The Silence of the Lambs is available on Fetchtv Movie Box until March 2nd, 2011)
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