Friday, October 25, 2013

The Silence of the Lambs

An FBI trainee (Jodie Foster) is sent by the head of the profiling division (Scott Glenn) to interview the incarcerated, diabolical, extremely intelligent sociopath Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) as a last ditch effort to catch a fellow serial killer (Ted Levine), the stakes soon being upped when a Senator's daughter is abducted. I recently revisited the dark, brooding chambers of Jonathan Demme's masterful Silence of the Lambs after reading Thomas Harris' novel (also spellbinding) which had the uncanny effect of only enhancing an already consummate film, by giving me a head start on the names and plotting which allowed for greater focus on the craft and acting. Hopkins gives an iconic, unforgettable performance, one which he has not been able to live up to since, and one which dominates the whole movie even though he is only on screen for a relatively short while compared to Foster who has the tougher, less flashy acting task and delivers marvelously nonetheless. Levine also gives a creepy and odious villainous performance. Demme's film is first rate from top to bottom, with a crackerjack screenplay from Ted Tally, amazing cinematography from Tak Fujimoto, and scenes of palpable tension in scenarios ranging from psychological to immediate danger.