THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS – Film Review

Storyline

Rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is assigned to get into the mind of notorious incarcerated serial killer Dr Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Her job is to get his evaluation on the elusive Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), a serial killer who’s been abducting and killing young women. When a prominent senator’s daughter is kidnapped, it becomes a race against time to find her before she is killed. FBI agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) believes that Dr. Lecter holds vital information for the case and he is willing to sacrifice Starling to catch Buffalo Bill before he kills again.

This thriller dominated the 1991 academy awards by winning Best Actor, Actress, Director, Film and adapted screenplay. Only three films have won all five major categories: It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), and The Silence of The Lambs (1991).

Let’s first define psychological thriller before dissecting The Silence of The Lambs.

A psychological thriller is a fictional thriller story which emphasizes the psychology of its characters and their unstable emotional states. In terms of classification, the category is a sub-genre of the broader ranging thriller category, with similarities to Gothic and detective fiction in the sense of sometimes having a “dissolving sense of reality,” moral ambiguity, and complex and tortured relationships between obsessive and pathological characters. Psychological thrillers often incorporate elements of mystery, drama, and horror, particularly psychological horror. -Wikipedia

WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised.

The unique aspect of The Silence of The Lambs is you’re seductively drawn into the characters and mesmerized by the horror perpetrated before you. Many psychological thrillers propel the audience to look away from the screen. The above entrance scene sets the tone, and the masterful point of view (POV) shots hook your innermost being. The title The Silence of The Lambs eloquently expresses the loss of innocence portrayed in the film.

A “loss of innocence” is a common theme in fiction, pop culture, and realism. It is often seen as an integral part of coming of age. It is usually thought of as an experience or period in a child’s life that widens their awareness of evil, pain or suffering in the world around them. -Wikipedia

We see this theme in the story of Adam and Eve where the fall from the state of innocence formed the present world of suffering and injustice. The Serpent or Seraphim deceives a naive Eve and thus begins the loss of innocence. Although not exclusive to Christianity, the fear of being vulnerable and deceived is arguably a human condition. Don’t we unconsciously worry something nonhuman is leading the sheeple to slaughter?

Dr. Hannibal Lector’s senses and intellect demonstrate his super-human characteristics. Agent Starling is willing to subject herself to Lector’s sharp mind and interrogation to set the captive young woman free. Many of us share a passionate desire to stop the screaming of the lambs or the injustices we see in our world.

Our generation is “coming of age.” We are confronted daily with revelations of fraud and deception in finance, government, education, history, religion, etc. Check out the anticipated new release The Wolf of Wall Street which highlights this reality. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish the dreamworld from reality when topics like aliens, UFO’s, or long held conspiracy theories are presented as real possibilities on History channel’s H2 “More to History” television series.

Psychological horror aims to create discomfort by exposing universal psychological and emotional vulnerabilities and fears; such as the shadowy parts of the human psyche that most people repress or deny. Psychological horror films differ from the traditional horror film, where the source of the fear is typically something material – such as creatures, monsters or aliens – as well as the splatter film, which derives its effects from gore and graphic violence, in that tension is built through atmosphere, eerie sounds and exploitation of the viewer’s and the character’s psychological fears. The line between dreamed threats and real threats are often blurred. -Wikipedia

Buffalo Bill scene dancing:

The Killers – Are we human or are we dancers?

The psychological horror is a fictional story. We must remember the human psyche has a tendency to be mesmerized with dark places. We may be entertained by the magic of holly wood for a brief time; but the light of love and awareness will set the captive free.

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The Brand StoryHome

…is in honor and memory of Tessa, my small Maltese born October 6, 1993, and passed away September 18, 2009.

I was considered the 3rd dog in Tessa’s pack. Her first master was the first dog, Tessa was the second dog, and I was the third dog. No matter what I’d do to gain respect or position in Tessa’s eyes… I was “ the third dog.” She was so adorable and such a character. I caved to her demands…and she was very demanding…which brought me joy and contentment. Her demands were begging for food and sitting on my lap.

Tessa had a few quirky personality traits based on her past…growing up in a less than ideal environment thrown into the backyard with two Dobermans to fend for herself. She was about 3 pounds at that time the runt and a spitfire. Not far from being a replica of me….she made me smile with joy at her attitude.

Quite the problem solver

She also liked mischief and got herself into some severe problems. Like the time she discovered chocolate candy on the coffee table and laid in wait for her moment to snatch the candy bars run upstairs and hide them under the bed until nightfall. In the middle of the night, I awoke to a banging noise. It was Tessa banging her water bowl against the metal stairs to get my attention. I soon discovered several empty candy wrappers, piles of vomit everywhere, and Tessa hitting the bowl. It is unbelievable that she survived that terrible episode eating more candy bars than I could… at one time!

Filled with inspiration

She will always be my inspiration and a reminder of perfection.

As I emerged in the second half of my journey as a storyteller, launched myself into the world of screenwriting, and left behind an entirely different phase of my life, I also had to let go of my friend…my companion my little spitfire Tessa.

I will forever be the 3rd dog.