Very few movies have ever won the five top Oscars: Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Director, and Picture. "The Silence of the Lambs" is one.
Adapted from the novel by Thomas Harris, Agent Clarice Starling (Foster) assists in the hunt for a brutal killer who is so desperate to be female, he's sowing a woman's suit for himself out of real skin. Hoping to gain some insight into the killer's mind, she visits the notorious psychiatrist and serial killer Hannibal 'The Cannibal' Lecter (Hopkins) in prison. His dazzling intellect and psychopathic nature both messes with her head and leads her on the path to success.
Of course, while the character of Lecter (with a voice apparently influenced by HAL, the computer in "2001") was the crowd-pleaser, the heart of this genuinely chilling movie lies with Foster.
As one of the few actors capable of carrying off Clarice's complex personality, her encounters with Anthony Hopkins are among the most compelling in recent cinematic history.
Director Demme too, should be commended for his restraint when it comes to the violence, choosing to focus on faces and suggestion than actual gore.
That said, this is a bloody tale, with a finale that'll make you think twice about entering a dark room without a sturdy weapon to defend yourself.
Nonetheless, the superb acting, memorable characters, and riveting story should have you hooked. And of course, once you've seen it, you can do your Lecter impression as well.
Read a review of "Manhunter", the first film to feature Hannibal Lecter.
Read a review of "Hannibal", the sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs".
"The Silence of the Lambs" is on Channel 5 at 10.00pm, Monday 12th February 2001.