The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) – psychopath, cannibal and evil genius – is already behind bars in his first appearance in The Silence of the Lambs. His entrance to the movie is the stuff of legend. The camera pans around to Lecter’s prison cell. We see him standing still, wide-eyed with a level of arrogance unknown to the ordinary person.

In the scene, he is so savagely confident that he doesn’t seem human. He talks to rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) as if he’s known her for years and their relationship becomes the underlining spine of the film. The FBI think Lecter can help with their search for another serial killer, “Buffalo Bill” (Ted Levine). So, Clarice must earn his trust to gain information.

Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs

I can throw any number of adjectives, but none will do justice to Hopkins’ chilling performance that puts The Silence of the Lambs in classic territory. His portrayal of Lecter is both gracious and monstrous, often saying his lines in a reserved way. There’s no question Hannibal Lecter is one of the greatest villains ever. It’s the touch of wit and sweetness he shows to Clarice that makes him more likeable and enduring. We see Lecter through the eyes of Clarice, which draws us in further and it gives the film real uniqueness.

However, let’s not forget about Jonathan Demme’s camerawork and suspense-building. That brilliant visiting sequence is a testament to his directing, as well as how he blends horror and detective genres. Having swept all five Acadamy Awards, not crediting Demme would be an insult. He puts you face to face with the characters by using close-up shots. This isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s so effective as it gets you involved with the plot. I never felt like a witness on my first viewing of The Silence of The Lambs, but rather a participant in the horror and mind games.

Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs

The weak point of the movie is not important, but there is one. The final showdown (the details of which I won’t spoil) gets rushed and it’s a little unrealistic. But against this minor flaw is a thrilling narrative with actors working at the top of their craft.

If you haven’t seen The Silence of the Lambs yet, then you must. Its cultural legacy is unlikely to fade.

Here’s the trailer!

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writers: Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)

Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Ted Levine

Rent. Buy. Stream – The Silence of the Lambs


2 thoughts on “The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

  1. Hi Liam

    An all round great actor, Anthony Hopkins, ably assisted by Jodie Foster. By the way, haven’t heard of Jodie Foster appearing in anything for a long time.

    A very clever portrayal of this psycho’ killer. Scary to say the least

    He allso played a very convincing Adolf Hitler, in a film called “The Bunker”, Hitler,s hideout in Berlin,
    during the closing stages of WW2, as the Russians were advancing, finally realising that the game was up!

    G. D.


    1. He is a brilliant actor. Jodie Foster directed a film called ‘Money Monster’ last year. And I didn’t know Hopkins played Hitler, that’s interesting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.