1 Year, 100 Movies: #74 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

silence-of-the-lambs-2For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

The Silence of the Lambs. This is the movie on the list I was very nervous about viewing for one reason- I don’t do scary movies. A story about a cannibal sounds like it fits right into the ‘scary movie’ genre to me. I was actually surprised to find that it wasn’t really all that scary- it fits squarely into the ‘thriller genre’- and at times I very much enjoyed it. Maybe I’m jaded from all the crime dramas I watch, but the few bloody scenes didn’t bother me. It was a well made, intelligent movie with lots of quirky moments and an (albeit creepy) fitting ending. Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins were equally brilliant in their roles. Foster plays Clarice Starling, a trainee at the FBI Academy at Quantico who is pulled out by Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) for a special assignment. He has her get the insight of Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), who is an incarcerated cannibal and former psychologist so they can catch serial killer “Buffalo Bill.” He offers a quid pro quo with Starling – he’ll give her insights on the profile of “Buffalo Bill” if he’ll  be transferred away from the Baltimore State Hospital where Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald) is the director- and if Starling will share information about her past. This is how we eventually find out how the movie got it’s name, Starling tried to save a lamb from slaughter and was unsuccessful.

“Buffalo Bill” or Jame Gumb is played by Ted Levine- who is crazy good, and plays just plain crazy. He has kidnapped a U.S. Senator’s daughter, Catherine Martin, and is holding her in a well in his basement. He used to be a tailor, and his new ( and disgusting) goal is to create a suit out of women’s skin. He had applied unsuccessfully in the past for a sex change, and is too preoccupied with how he looks and pretending to be a woman to realize Starling has arrived because of tips from Lecter. He ends up stalking Starling in the dark basement with his night vision goggles, but Starling prevails in the end.

At Starling’s graduation party she receives a phone call from Lector, having killed several of his guards and escaping, he makes the call from an airport in Bimini. He said he will not pursue her because the world is a better place with her in it. Then he hangs up, saying he is ‘having an old friend for dinner.’ He follows Chilton, who just arrived on a plane, and we see the credits while watching the island street view where he blended in with the crowd in seconds. A creepy but brilliant ending.

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:

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