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The fact that “The Silence of the Lambs” is frightening, involving, and disturbing while “Hannibal” is simply disturbing is a key distinction between the two films. If you start with a cannibal, building a geek program isn’t too difficult. The key to “Silence” is that it enters the cannibal’s head through the eyes and thoughts of a young lady rather than beginning with him. Jodie Foster’s character Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee, is the focus of “Silence of the Lambs,” and the narrative primarily tracks her throughout. The villainous but somehow likeable Dr. Hannibal Lecter lurks at the center of the narrative. He is likeable because he loves Clarice and helps her. Clarice is in the middle ring, while Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Lecter is the spectacle.
As long as there is a market for fear, Jonathan Demme’s film will undoubtedly continue to be popular. Like “Nosferatu,” “Psycho” and “Halloween,” it demonstrates that the best thrillers don’t age. Fear is a timeless and common feeling. However, “Silence of the Lambs” is more than just a thrilling film. Additionally, it centers on the odd, tense relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, two of the most recognizable movie characters ever (“people will say we’re in love,” Lecter chuckles).
They exchange a lot. Both are ostracized by the worlds they want to inhabit–Lecter, by the human species because he is a serial killer and a cannibal, and Clarice, by the law enforcement profession because she is a woman. Lecter, who is imprisoned in a maximum security facility and is bound and gagged like King Kong when he is moved, and Clarice, who is encircled by men who tower over her and sulk at her with their eyes, both feel helpless. Lecter is able to get rid of the bother in the next cell by talking him into choking on his own tongue, and Clarice is able to convince Lecter to help her find the serial murderer known as Buffalo Bill by using her persuasive skills. Both also experienced comparable childhood injuries. When Lecter discovers that Clarice lost both of her parents at a young age, was sent to live with relatives, and was basically an unloved orphan, he is moved. Additionally, Lecter suffered from child maltreatment. (on the DVD commentary track, Demme says he regrets not underlining this more).
Patterns in the visual strategy reflect these parallel topics. Note that Starling must descend several flights of staircases and pass through several doors in order to find Lecter in his cell and Buffalo Bill in his basement; both of them reside in underworlds. The point-of-view camera replaces the men in Clarice’s life who constantly scrutinize her, and it is there waiting for her when she approaches dangerous areas rather than trailing after her. This is how the movie always seems to be looking at Clarice. Not only in the FBI scenes but also in the flag draped over the car in the storage shed, other flags in Bill’s hideout, and even the graduation cake at the conclusion, notice the constant use of red, white, and blue. (where the U.S. eagle in the frosting is a ghastly reminder of the way Lecter pinned a security guard spread-eagled to the walls of his cage).
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The soundtrack of the film also features recurring motifs. At various times, such as when Bill’s first victim’s throat is exposed to the gypsy moth’s cocoon, there are exhales and sighs. substantial respiration. At key moments, there are underground rumblings and distant screams and laments that are almost too low to hear. The sound of a cardiac monitor can be heard. The gloomy soundtrack by Howard Shore creates a funereal atmosphere. When the music is meant to evoke fear, as when Clarice is in Bill’s basement, it combines the sound of her terrified panting with Bill’s labored breathing and the screaming of the kidnapped girl. Then it adds the dog’s crazed barking, which psychologically operates at a deeper level than anything else. The green spectacles are then added, allowing him to see her in the dark.
In addition to winning best picture under Demme’s direction and Ted Talley’s script, Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins also received Oscar nominations for editing and sound. It is amazing that the Academy would recall, let alone single out, a movie that came out 13 months prior to the Oscar ceremony; typically, it votes for movies that are still playing in theaters or that have just come out on video. But “Silence” was so obviously unique that it could not be disregarded.
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Despite receiving much less screen time than Foster, Hopkins’ performance left a lasting effect on viewers. His “entrance” is memorable. The camera pans to Clarice’s point of view as she first encounters Lecter in his cell after she descends those steps and passes through those doors and gates (which all squeak). He is really still. He appears to be a wax replica of himself when he is standing straight and attentively in his jail jump suit. When she returns, he is upright, slightly recoils, and then opens his jaws, giving me the impression that he is a cobra, at the very least. According to Hopkins’ commentary track, his interpretation of Lecter’s personality was influenced by HAL 9000 from “2001”: He is an emotionless, brilliant machine who excels at reasoning but lacks compassion.
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Clarice from Foster is not only an orphan but also a poor, hard-working, and less confident than she lets on rural girl who has worked hard to get where she is. She surmises that one of Bills’ victims is from “town,” a term only used by those who are not, after observing the nail varnish on the victim. Her most courageous act may be when she commands the mortified sheriff’s officers to leave the funeral home (“Listen here now!”).
The fact that viewers like Hannibal Lecter is one factor in the movie’s allure. He loves Starling, and we have a gut feeling he wouldn’t harm her, which contributes to this. Moreover, he is assisting her in her efforts to find Buffalo Bill and free the lady who is being held captive. It could also be because Hopkins gives the character such wit and flair in a subtle, underhanded manner. Even though he is a cannibal, he would make a good dinner party guest (if he didn’t consume you). He is the brightest character in the film, he does not bore, he enjoys amusement, and he has his standards.
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He does resemble other film creatures like Nosferatu, Frankenstein (especially in “Bride of Frankenstein”), King Kong, and Norman Bates. a new a s a s a s a s a They act in accordance with their natures and are misinterpreted. Because they lack morality, nothing that these monsters do can be considered “evil” in the traditional meaning of the word. They are programmed to act the way they do. They have no other option. When they do have an option, they try to make the right decision. (Nosferatu is the exception in that he never has a choice). Kong wants to save Fay Wray, Norman Bates wants to talk nice and follow his mother’s orders, and Dr. Lecter aids Clarice because she doesn’t insult his intelligence and makes him like her.
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If “Silence” weren’t also truly terrifying, all of these qualities might not be sufficient to ensure its longevity (Hannibal is not scary, and despite its box office success, it will have a short shelf life). When Hannibal Lecter is first introduced, “Silence” is the most terrifying part. The cocoon in the pharynx was found and removed second. Third in the scene where the police are waiting for the elevator to come down from the higher levels. The fourth intercutting between the interiors of the correct home in Belvedere, Ohio and the exteriors of the incorrect home in Calumet City. Fifth in the lengthy sequence inside Buffalo Bill’s home, Ted Levine produces a truly repulsive psychopath (notice the timing as Starling assesses him and assesses the circumstance prior to yelling “Freeze!”). In addition to the film’s deft manipulation of story and image, we are also terrified because we care about Clarice, empathize with her, and worry about her. similar to Lecter.