Friday, October 15, 2010
The Silence of the Lambs Review
I was way too young to understand this film when I first saw it. I saw it as a young boy, because my parents didn't have a filter for what I was watching, and I LOVED horror/thrillers. Don't ask why.
So I was 8 years old when I was this in theaters, of all places, and it didn't have the effect it should've had. If nothing else, I remember being bored. This film completely went over my head, and I didn't understand any of the things it was pushing forward. The movie I'm talking about today is none other than, The Silence of the Lambs.
The movie is based on a novel, and is done with such care that it seriously one of the best horror movies of all time, even if there are a lot of arguments for and against the argument. The movie is about a young FBI trainee that is called in to help track down a serial killer they are calling "Buffalo Bill". In order to figure out how to catch him, she seeks the council of Hannibal Lecter, a sociopath larger and more notorious than the serial killer they are hunting.
The film visually is interesting, utilizing a lot of cuts, and sweeping cinematography that wouldn't be seen for at least a decade. There were some very interested moments visually, that made the atmosphere "tingle" in a sense with the unknown. The movie didn't even seem that good for a good portion, and it's not until you dissect the words that are spoken about the victims, alongside the re-enactments, you really start to get an unsettling feeling, and invest yourself into the story as Clarice Starling starts to realize that she's closer to the killer than she might be comfortable with.
Meanwhile, there's another storyline playing out, the story of Hannibal Lecter being given a plea bargain for information leading to the capture of Buffalo Bill. That second story line is where you get a lot of the horror, gore, and sickening points that have been parodied to death throughout pop culture including The Simpsons, The Critic, Family Guy, and so many others. In fact, I'm sick of the parodies at this point, considering how astronomically scary the character is in this film (not the sequels).
Is The Silence of the Lambs A Scary Film?: Yes.
This film is scary on a lot of levels. It's not so much the story on its own, but the fact that these things have happened! There have been both old school killers and modern era serial killers that have torn through families, people, and psyches of many detectives on the hunt. It's sad.
That being said, this film is fictional, and based on a crime novel. The fact that people don't read is a whole different argument, but it pains me to know that these stories are locked away in library books around the country and yet we only have so many film adaptations. I'm not saying that we should saturate the market with these types of films, but consider, that these things you are watching in this film can and have happened on many different levels.
When you break down the illusion of fiction, and the comfort of safety, you start to usher in a certain uneasy, scary feeling in your gut. Now, with that fear inside, consider the closing moments of this film, not the absolute closing, but when Clarise realizes who's house she is in, and then the darkness, and the fear, and the realization that she knows "too much". That point of exhaling is the scariest point in this film, and while I didn't like the closure of the case, I did appreciate the last sequence of Hannibal walking free.
The silence of the lambs is a scary movie, and the best in the series. I can't believe that it has been reduced to parody by others. I enjoyed this film and recommend it on many levels. I'm sure that it lives on with many. Sure, it has some comedic spots if you watch it with the wrong pretense, or you just don't think about it, and I admit it can be boring for some, but if you sit down and really pay attention you'll notice that it's not just visually stunning, it sounds great, and has a lot of deep characterizations that you don't get with traditional horror films.