The Silence of the Lambs (1991) stars Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Lawrence A. Bonney. It is a Crime, Drama, Thriller with a total run time of one hour and fifty-eight minutes. This film introduces us to Clarice Starling and the infamous Hannibal the Cannibal Lecter. Clarice Starling is an FBI trainee who gets pulled into the case of hunting Buffalo Bill. 

Silence of the Lambs Iconic Characters

The main selling point of this film is not really the story line but more the iconic characters that we find within it. The story line is fairly basic serial killer hunter type of movie. What really sells this film is the interesting and charismatic characters.

Clarice Starling is an ambitious woman. Her character within the film is obviously fighting gender stereotypes. The movie actually makes quite a point of it in one of the scenes when Clarice confronts her boss about how he addresses her at a police station. Clarice is courageous and we see that demonstrated throughout her actions and stories in the film. Despite her courage, she does show her fear in certain circumstances. This makes her a compelling and relatable main character.

“It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.” Buffalo Bill does not have a lot of screen time but he captures the attention of the audience none the less. His unique reasons for killing and what he does with the skin of his victim is considered bizarre and interesting. This film, and the original novel it was based on, was published at a time when there was less public conversations about gender and gender identity. The film taps into the undercurrent of feelings society perpetuates around men who wish to be or dress as women.

“Good evening, Clarice.” This is one of the most recognizable Hannibal Lecter lines, although often misquoted as, “Hello Clarice”. Doctor Hannibal Lecter captures the attention of more than a few people. Hannibal’s privilege and taste for the finer things makes his deliberate choice to commit murder at odds with what we expect of most killers. Lecter has no motivation to kill that comes from any disadvantage. He is an upper class white male. Anthony Hopkins takes the character to intense levels with his superior acting. While preparing for this role, he spent time in court rooms of murder cases and got permission to converse with serial murderers. His performance of Hannibal is part of what transformed this character into an incredible horror movie icon.

Cinematography & Effects

They use some interesting cinematography for this film. They try to keep the audience in the point of view of Clarice. The shots are all filmed so that when a character is speaking to her, the camera faces then point on so the actors are speaking to the camera directly. When we are looking at Clarice, she often has her head tilted or is looking off to one side of the camera. We also get some interesting cinematography for the shots in the basement of Buffalo Bill’s house. The way those scenes near the end are shot really ups the drama and tension of the moment.

The make up effects for this film are pretty well done considering the time. They use all practical gore effects that look pretty realistic. It’s nice that the gore isn’t over the top as well. They keep it at a realistic and believable level.

Final Verdict

Silence of the Lambs has so many iconic characters, lines, and moments that have defined cinema for years to follow. This film is a must watch! Love of Gothic gives it 4 out of 5 bats.

Four out of Five bats for Love of Gothic Review

So… What’s For Dinner?

Silence of the Lambs is a great film. Movies about cannibalism can spawn some great dark humor. What is Gothic culture if not a place for dark humor? Join our mailing list to get full reviews and Gothic interest articles. Join your online community today!