Just finishing up one of the screenings I did this last week with a very brief recap of “The Silence of the Lambs”. This was a 30th Anniversary screening of one of the most widely acclaimed films to ever win the Academy Award. The movie is virtually perfect in every respect. The story is set up dramatically, introducing us to all the characters in an interesting way. The horror aspect of Buffalo Bill is awful but when you layer on the sense of dread that comes with the introduction of Hannibal Lecter, the tension is almost unbearable.
Director Johnathan Demme managed to make the flashbacks to Clarice’s childhood relevant, and the screenplay allows her to tell the story that accounts for the title instead of trying to put it on screen. The dynamic between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in their scenes is mesmerizing. Even though that is where the meat of the drama is, there are so many other scenes and characters that keep us in the story when those two are not front and center. Lecter and Dr. Chilton are opposites in personality, and the actors manage to make a loathsome killer fell less awful than the unctuous “turnkey” that Chilton doesn’t want to be labeled as.
Someday I will do a post on the career performances of one of the great actors who has never been celebrated for his craft in the manner that he deserves. Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford makes the academic, older mentor fell real, when just a year before he was a dynamic, take charge sub commander in the”Hunt for Red October”. He was always a strong third leg on a tripod of performances, but he seems to be outshined by the other posts that make up the tripods of his films. Ted Levine will forever be remembered for the brave performance that he gave which made us fear the transformation that Buffalo Bill was attempting.
I did a post on the music from this movie a few years ago and I just need to add that it keeps all the moments in the film engaging. The escape sequence in particular but the very quiet ending of the film works so much more effectively because of the subdued tones of Howard Shore.
Simply trying to acknowledge that I saw the film for probably the thirtieth time, but once again on the big screen. Thank you TCM and Fathom.