Jonathan Demme unleashed a masterpiece in the world, and we haven’t even begun to see all of its genius.
There are so many great and important reasons to love the movie The silence of the Lambs that I was overwhelmed while sitting to write this post today. It’s a film with real power, one that shows what it’s like to be a woman in the workplace, one that delves deep into the characters’ psychosis, that offers thrills, chills, interesting camera work, the close-up reinvented, and Jonathan Demme has been cemented as one of the most eminent American directors in the world.
And that’s all just the tip of the iceberg.
Check out this video from Cinematography, and let’s talk afterwards.
What does The silence of the Lambs So great?
Where were you the first time that you saw The silence of the Lambs? The film premiered in 1991 and was directed by the late, great Demme and written by Ted Tally based on the novel by Thomas Harris.
This wasn’t the first time Dr. Lecter appeared on the big screen, but it was the most memorable. The silence of the Lambs was released on Valentine’s Day and grossed $ 272.7 million worldwide on a budget of $ 19 million. This is a bang for your buck.
According to Wikipedia, “The silence of the Lambs is regularly recognized by critics, film directors and audiences as one of the greatest and most influential films. In 2018, rich # 48 on their list of the 500 best films of all time. The American Film Institute rated it as fifth largest and most influential thriller while Starling and Lecter to the The greatest movie heroines and villains. The US regards the film as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically” Library of Congress and was made for conservation in the. selected National Film Register in 2011.”
But is that what makes this film a masterpiece?
I think it’s mainly the complex emotions and questions that made this film so special. Every character goes through something. Lecter wants revenge, Starling wants catharsis, the Senator wants his daughter back, and Buffalo Bill is shedding her skin to become someone else. This confluence of people created an epic story. Everyone needs each other to move forward. They cannot reach their arches without each other.
Check out how well these characters are drawn. We see competing motivations in every scene. Lecter wants to get out of maximum security, Starling wants to catch a killer. They are into verbal boxing matches, sparring, association, caring for one another.
We had never seen such people before. Killers on TV and in movies were always filthy and gross, like Buffalo Bill, but Lecter was the opposite. He was polished and intelligent. It infiltrated tired tropics and gave us something we had never seen before.
Of course, this all had to come together on the script side first and then be created by a director who knew how to shape the visuals with expert cinematography. The way Demme handles this film is extraordinary, slipping into its signature close-ups and keeping the camera moving so we can sit on the edge of our seats.
And what about this climax? It’s in the dark, we’ve got a trail that can’t see, and it’s being hunted. This type of extraordinary payout is shockingly surreal. We slip in and out of the close-ups, go handheld. We can feel Buffalo Bill’s breath as he sneaks up on Starling.
It’s compelling and a moment that made history, and rightly so.
What are your favorite moments in this film?
Let us know in the comments.