I’ll be honest, although I really wanted to watch this film, I was put off as I thought it would scare me to a point where it became unenjoyable. Upon my viewing this was certainly not the case and I actually found that it was much more intriguing and fulfilling than I could have imagined. This film is one of the most revered and respected films of all time and became only the third film to win the “Big 5” at the Oscars: Best Picture, Best Leading Actress (Jodie Foster;) Best Leading Actor (Anthony Hopkins;) Best Director (Jonathon Demme) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Tally.) The other two films to complete the “Big 5” were ‘It Happened One Night’ (1934) and ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. (1975.)
What is it about?
FBI cadet and student Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is tasked with an initially non-specific agenda involving interviewing the psychopathic Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins.) However, her task becomes more clear when the rise of another sociopathic, serial killer nicknamed Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine,) who skins his victims once he kills them, becomes increasingly interwoven with Hannibal. Starling finds herself navigating difficult waters in her attempts to gain information regarding “Buffalo Bill”, as well as trying to maintain her unwavering façade in the face of such adversity.
What did I think?
I knew from the very opening sequence of this film that I was going to love it. Something about the way the camera panned around Starling (Foster) completing the obstacle course, was utterly mesmerising and my engagement was continued from this point right until the end of the film. Overall, I thought the story was excellent: smart and stylish, really maintaining my attention throughout; however, it was the performances that really enhanced the story and allowed it to bloom into full fruition. I thought that Foster effortlessly portrays a conflicted trainee, who is much more capable than others believe is possible of her. She struggles to interpret what is manipulation and genuine from Dr. Lecter and all of this is explicitly conveyed on-screen. Hopkins plays a menacing, sly, untrustworthy Cannibal, whom he allows the audience to empathise with because he fully embodies him as a person and not just as a stereotypical psychopath. His speech and mannerisms are disturbing, provocative and suggestive (consistently leaving me paralysed in dreadful anticipation.) Moreover, this film works as a whole. Sometimes there are films with fantastic component parts that don’t come together as a final product, but this film really did.
However, for a film that had been great at building the tension, I thought the end seemed a little rushed. What happened was great and exhilarating; but, I just would have liked a bit more from it. Saying that, the actual final sequence is great and really leaves the film in an interesting place. Finally, there was one other thing that annoyed me: in one particular shot between Foster and Hopkins, Foster only seems to breath after she speaks and does it the same every time she speaks in that scene, but never again after or before. I thought it was odd, but quickly got over it.
Overall, the film was fantastic. It really had me engaged throughout and I thought the performances were exceptional. It worked as a film and fully deserves it’s 8.6/10 on IMDb.
My Rating- 8/10
My Top 3 of the Year:
- Call Me by Your Name
- Brokeback Mountain
If you liked this review please do like and follow to support my page. Also, follow me on my instagram @judesfilmreviews