An Incredibly Suspenseful Thriller
Tense, atmospheric and incredibly absorbing, The Silence Of The Lambs is a brilliant psychological thriller, one that catapults its two lead actors into stardom with their stunning performances. When it comes to crafting a compelling story whilst keeping the horror and suspense high, Silence Of The Lambs is a really impressive film and one that absolutely holds up today as one of the best thrillers ever made.
The story begins with Clarice (Jodie Foster), an up and coming FBI agent in a male-dominated profession, determined to make a name for herself. This drive sees her thrust into the complex task of tracking down a serial killer with the help of another serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Grappling with her own troubled past and Hannibal’s mesmerising and chilling demeanour, the story progresses with enough wit and suspense through its 110 minute run time to make it unrivalled in the thriller genre.
What really sets the film apart from others in its field is quite simply the stunning performances from its two lead actors. You really empathise with Jodie Foster as she struggles to establish herself in the FBI whilst trying desperately not to get caught in the web of cryptic mind games Hannibal Lecter puts her through. All of this is heightened by a career-best performance by Anthony Hopkins who is quite simply sublime as the chilling Hannibal Lecter. The deliberate bites of dialogue are perfectly executed; oftentimes his persona deviates between blasts of emotionally charged anger and methodical, softly spoken riddles. His performance is up there with one of the best antagonists shown on the big screen and his iconic lines are some of the reason this film still manages to hold up today.
It’s surprising then that these moments that Foster and Hopkins share on-screen are few and far between, dominated by much of the picture following Clarice in her struggle to find the serial killer before time slips away. In a way, it would have been nice to see more of these two on-screen, especially given their electric chemistry together but it doesn’t detract too much from the enjoyment of the film. The masterful crafting of suspense is well executed here and a lot of this is thanks to the composition and editing which remain on-point and impressive throughout. From the iconic Point Of View shot when Clarice first meets Hannibal to the sharp, quick-cut edits during moments of distress late on, the film is finely balanced throughout and the technical aspects do a great job heightening the emotionally charged narrative at all times.
The Silence Of The Lambs is worthy of its Oscar nominations and will go down in history as one of the best thrillers ever made. This masterful execution is helped by the performances of its two lead actors who come into their own here and are helped along by tightly refined editing too. While there are some that may see this as a little dated in terms of visual design compared to newer thrillers, Silence Of The Lambs is one of the best in its field and a true benchmark on how to create a psychologically charged thriller.