LACKING IN RETROSPECT NOT
A Video Review of “The Silence of the Lambs”
Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker
When this film was first released my wife (then girlfriend) and I saw it as a sneak preview. The theatre management was very concerned with the graphic violence and other content of the movie. They not only demanded all the children under seventeen leave the auditorium to see another feature of their choice for free but also offered this option to all the other patrons as well. They were really worried about The Silence of the Lambs.
My, how times have changed! The film went on to break box office records and garnered several Oscar nominations. It won for Best Picture of 1992 among other things, the only horror film to win for that category. It resuscitated careers for actors whose careers seemed done with at the time like Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins who has since made millions as the villain Hannibal Lector in successive films.
The Silence of the Lambs became so popular and so satired and parodied that watching it now seems cliched. When Joe Dirt features a take off you know the film is embedded in the media consciousness and will never leave.
This stuff is old hat but it should be pointed out – it did it first. It’s very much like the silent French movie serial Les Vampires. At first glance it is filled with every action adventure cliffhanger cliché imaginable until you consider they did it first. By that consideration it makes John Woo and Jerry Bruckheimer look like amateurs.
In viewing the film again I am impressed how drawn in I become even though I know the story, know the details, know every twist and turn of plot. The tension of Agent Starling’s and Hannibal Lector’s encounters, the intensive search for Buffalo Bill and the sheer terror of Bill himself all stand up to current scrutiny.
Jodie Foster proves her acting superiority as she has again and again. She is truly a professional. Anthony Hopkins in the role that rejuvenated his career is perfectly frightening. Strangely he is more scary imprisoned or bound than he is free and loose, a detail makers of sequels might note. There is power in being in control even when trapped – this is what Hannibal Lector is about.
This is a strong film, scary, menacing, enough to cause nightmares. Maybe I should have taken the free other movie all those years ago. I know I’m gonna have nightmares tonight.