Genre Grandeur – Silence of The Lambs (1991)

For my next installation of Genre Grandeur (Thriller), I present to you with a selection from Zoe of Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger.  Zoe’s blog is a diverse blend of movie, book and TV reviews sprinkled with a great weekly feature of top ten’s from Guest Bloggers.  If you don’t already follow her, I strongly recommend that you start right now!

Now I’ll turn things over to Zoe, so she can tell us what her favorite Thriller is:

the silence of the lambs poster

This one is just an absolute gem, and a proper thriller in my opinion. There are many that I hold dear, truly, but this is one that just needs to have a mention. While maybe a conventional pick, one cannot deny how good this movie is. Hannibal Lecter is, undoubtedly, one of the most enthralling villains ever written about. He is complex, charming, extremely intelligent, refined and sophisticated and captivating… all these things make him nothing short of terrifying.

The first real introduction to Hannibal Lecter as we know him is The Silence of the Lambs, and what a way to go! Granted, there was Manhunter, but I do not consider it a part of the Lecter repertoire because, in my opinion, there is only one Hannibal Lecter and that is Sir Anthony Hopkins. His performance here was simply chilling, and there were no two ways about it. Keeping you at the edge of your seat, each and every thing that Lecter said was absorbed and played with. His toying with Clarice was just a whole new thing to watch, and never got old. You feel for her, you sympathise, and at the same time it amazes you that Hannibal is so adept and astute at reading people. Meanwhile there is Buffalo Bill out there somewhere, slicing and dicing women, moving as a spectre, leaving the police so confused. Anthony Hopkins just instils a deep unsettling feeling with you. He is calm, his mannerisms are so out of place in his confinement, the prison itself sets you on edge and Hopkins’s portrayal of the cannibal Hannibal is just phenomenal, one of the best performances of all time.

the silence of the lambs meeting hannibal“Enthrall me with your acumen.” – Dr Hannibal Lecter

Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) sends in rookie trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), who manages to fascinate Hannibal from the beginning. He toys with her, picking away at places he perceives to be weak but never putting her down, that would be rude, something he simply cannot abide. He is intelligent, and finds ways to extricate knowledge about her against Jack’s recommendations (he doesn’t ever want personal knowledge of his agents getting out there with Lecter, especially after what happened with Will Graham). Hannibal gets under her skin as much as she seems to get under his, and the two enter into a strange type of relationship. All the while, women are being abducted and slain and Hannibal still taunts with knowledge and assistance. Dr Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald) is a total annoyance all around, and in his way he is a freak, drawn to the macabre in a disgusting and exhilarating manner, someone that repulses those around him due to his obsession with the murders that drove Hannibal’s rise to fame. He seems unduly interested, and something about the man just sets your teeth on edge.

the silence of the lambs clarice starling “You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself?” – Clarice Starling

Clarice is in the midst of an endless war trying to prove her worth as an agent and that she is stronger than the credit afforded her simply because she is a woman. She is smart and dedicated and exceptionally unimpressed to learn that Crawford did not let her in on the fact that she was supposed to be luring Hannibal into assisting on the Buffalo Bill case. Of all the characters, she seems the most normal and the easiest to understand/identify with. It is a thrilling tale of a serial killer, the cannibal that was imprisoned, assisting the police in tracking another serial killer. It is riveting to watch all of the characters work different angles, everyone discovering other pieces. Buffalo Bill is not nearly as intricate and absorbing as the master himself, but he does lend to the story. Ted Levine played the transsexual with incredible flair and style, truly lending a more in depth look at the man, though it is hard to identify with him or feel for him. This film is rather old, but I think that it has stood the test of time well, and continues to be one of the best entries into the thriller genre. The cast delivers stellar performances all around and the fear of Hannibal is palpable. Rooting for Starling is just something that was going to happen, no matter what. The music and sets used helped a lot to set the mood and tone, too, and should be commended for complementing a superbly engrossing story. The Silence of the Lambs is most certainly the way to go in terms of a psychological thriller.

the silence of the lambs hannibal threat

Thanks again to Zoe for her excellent review!

If anyone else is still interested in sending me their review of their favorite Thriller, email it to me at before 25 march 2014

28 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – Silence of The Lambs (1991)

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur March Update | MovieRob

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