The Silence Of The Lambs: Special Edition (1991) Review
Written by: BlackTequilaKiss
I am taking a change of pace and instead of reviewing the newest movie in line; I am instead going to focus on the more classic horror movies. Some not that old and some that have quite a bit of age to them. I begin with a movie that has a lot of weight and gained a lot of attention, both for negative and positive reasons. The positive lies in that it has added intelligence and was rather ground-breaking for it’s time; the negative lying in the fact that some think it is just an inferior remake of Manhunter (William Petersen).
For my two cents? Whilst this carries the same message pretty much as the above mentioned, it is a movie I can watch time and time again. It is intelligent but also boasts a respectable cast who know how to make the movie work and a tense plotline that never loses that mettle needed to see it through to the end.
Yes it is easy to see this and say it is too Hollywood-ized or too glossed but truth it is a solid, deep thinking movie that can appeal to the dark side of each of us.
For the Uninitiated: The Plot for ‘Silence of the Lambs’
FBI agent, Clarice Starling is assigned to a case to help find a missing woman who has been taken by the infamous Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who is both psychopathic and has a tendency to skin his victims. In an attempt to understand the psyche of a twisted killer, she turns to Hannibal Lecter who aside from being a psychopath use to be a respected psychiatrist. Thinking he might be able to help in catching Buffalo Bill, Clarice realises she must try and gain his confidence if she hopes to stop a monster in his tracks. But who’s really in control, Clarice or Lecter…?
I want to be careful but this does mess with your mind. You think one thing and then that perception is shredded and your mind is thinking elsewhere. It is never clear cut, it is not easy to read, beneath the grain of the movie there actually is a lot going on and it takes you into the journey and presses against everything you thought you knew.
Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, there is no way I can say anything but the following, she was an inspired choice. In a world filled with good looks but a real lack of depth she fills that gap very well. Whilst not quintessentially beautiful, she has a charming look that crosses over into the movies she partakes in. Not only that but she is highly intelligent and more than often it shows in her choice of role. Bringing a tender edge to that of Starling, she makes the part her own. Fantastic!
Anthony Hopkins ‘Lecter’- How in hell’s name can you say this is anything less of remarkable? Geared forever with that infamous line and his uncanny creepiness he lends to the character he really breathed life into that of Hannibal and never once what makes him such a revered actor. His intelligence was put into great practice throughout the movie, ***spoiler** one part which I loved is when he’s inside the cage in a hall and proceeds to take out two guards who are keeping him as they think, in secure restraints. It’s not just the brutality of the act itself, it is also how he looks has he kills them and the music set to it. It all sounds so wrong, so out of place and this is why that scene alone works fantastically*** in the end, it was due to be a hard choice of choosing who would portray Lecter and in the end they found the right man for the job. There is no denying Hopkins’s ability to act splendidly and this is proof of an actor who lives, breathes and corners the acting trade. Unrequited genius.
I could end with these two actors but there is another who deserves a mention of paramount importance: Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill. Star of (The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Joy Ride, The Fast and the Furious & Evolution). You know how we always speak of under appreciated and underrated actors? A dime to a dozen, there are so many, meet the man who is without doubt atop of that list. He has acted in some of my favourite films but barely does he get the recognition he deserves.
As Buffalo Bill he almost stole the thunder. Although the initial relationship of the film centres on Lecter and Starling, he holds his own throughout and brings a very disturbed mentality to that of Bill. He was a joy to watch despite the necessity of his character and I admire him greatly. I think he is an amazing actor and one day I hope he gets the due respect he is owed so.
Hands up, who remembers the score? Good and there is a reason it is still known and remembered many years after the film was opened to a world wide audience. It is not the usual score; it doesn’t exist merely to induce scares but is for a more sentimental value. The moments existing between Lecter and Starling are pulled together beautifully by the orchestral score that exists between those scenes. Then cometh the scenes where the darker nature coexists, how it manages to manoeuvre between intensity and an eerie composure is highly well done and I respect that greatly. Flawless in both conviction and design.
Cinematography? This is where the movie really took me by surprise. Given that it is rather mainstream, I adore how they did this. It does not evoke that glossed, trendy feel we so often get from films but is grittier and set in a better realism. We do not think that it is a movie sometimes as they stray from the conventional path and take a harder and more gripped edge to the movie.
It didn’t seem to take a similar line and as such I was able to get into the movie a lot more than some.
Gore, blood, special effects and general messiness? Oh in the plentiful, it is not always often and more than often what you see is further implied, rather than shown consistently. The strength of the effects in this is they used it when required and left it alone when not needed. There was no blur or crossed stage where it became too much but in a better thought out process they knew what would work and what wouldn’t.
As for the gore, I have to commend it highly. The effects never looked hokey or OTT but in keeping with the movie and played an integral part.
My favourite scene arises after Lecter has overpowered the guards in the mess hall and beaten them/ eaten them literally. When the alarms sound and the guards and staff go to check on them and find one of the guards. His skin peeled back and spread out like angel wings as he hovers high above the ground, his stomach contents for all to see.
The power of that scene is enough to evoke many an emotion and it did. But it was fundamentally the tasteful way in which they approached the scene that made it stand out to this viewer. It was not overshot, it did not linger for too long a period, it centred in just enough and with an enough time that your mind is allowed to wonder and revile what you have just seen. There are equally some awful bloody moments that will stick and if you are of the squeamish variety I will say this, you’d best be prepared.
I speak highly of this movie because it is not the usual shock, grab and scare film. The ending was pretty awesome if a little overdone but in the end there is a resolution (well except with Lecter) and it has an ending that whilst enjoyable does raise hairs on the nape of your neck.
The only thing I can say this is more intelligent, breaks more depth than most and is worth watching. Just watching Lecter as Hannibal should give you an insight to this movie and what it can and does offer.
Psychological thrillers are a big focus in movies and it is beautiful when things go right. For an example of that watch this, you’ll be savouring every moment…