My current Top 5

My current Top 5

6/06/2011

Number 20: The Silence of the Lambs (Best Picture Ranking)

That’s how you do a thriller, baby!

It’s still incredibly surprising that the Academy would actually give the five most important Oscars to a movie like this but The Silence of the Lambs deservedly holds the place as one of the best movies ever made. It wins it strength from the fact that it is not a cheap shocker that tries to make the audience jump up in their seats as many times as possible but instead slowly builds up a large amount of tension by the interaction of the characters and the use of cinematography, sound and score.

Both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins are outstanding in their parts. Jodie finds the right amount of nervousness and toughness in her role while Anthony Hopkins creates a devilish villain without turning him into a caricature. Even though his screentime is brief while Jodie Foster is in almost every scene of the story, both actors are equal in their importance to the movie and their scenes together are undoubtedly the highlight of The Silence of the Lambs. Director Jonathan Demme constantly uses the intense performances of his two stars and the cinematography to present those scenes in a way that constantly works very well in the context of a thriller but also turns them into a real character-study – the constant close-ups of Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, who both almost look directly at the audience while they talk, fill the atmosphere of The Silence of the Lambs with an unforgettable mix of horror and realism.

The Silence of the Lambs is also a movie that I would rank much higher than the book it is based on – the backstory of Clarice or the final scenes of her in the cellar, the whole chemistry between Clarice and Lecter work much better on the screen.

Overall, The Silence of the Lambs is so outstanding because it found the perfect way to balance its own themes and aspects – how many thrillers would put a character like Clarice in the middle of the action? The movie talks about obsession, about violence, about guilt, about the past, the present and the future through its characters while the overall story is done with so much subtle danger and horror that it turns into a movie that will shock and haunt but also provoke and interest you at the same time. As a result, The Silence of the Lambs never really depends on any effects – it’s a movie that you can watch over and over again without ever becoming bored since all the quality comes from timeless aspects like the acting, the writing, the directing.

An unusual choice by the Academy – but luckily, also one of the best.

7 comments:

dinasztie said...

The first sentence sums it up the best.

Louis Morgan said...

Great film, no disagreements here.

Anonymous said...

Well, I always ask for a higher placement, but it's alright! A terrific masterpiece and certainly top 20 material!

Malcolm said...

Definitely a timeless and fantastic movie that doesn't tire me.

I wish for a higher placement, but this is Top 20 anyway!

Anonymous said...

I hope Annie Hall or The Godfather Part II are up next!s

Da Vinci Smetana said...

#1 on my list.

Anthony said...

I may have even ranked it a little higher!

Truly a class act of a suspense thriller that we rarely see anymore...and one that Hitchcock may have made had he been alive. The Academy was smart to go against their grain and give it to this chilling masterpiece, though BEAUTY AND THE BEAST would have been another interesting and worthy route to go as well.