Friday, 28 April 2017

The Silence of the Lambs — Phew!

27th April, 2017.

How long have you been reading Nik Nak’s Old Peculiar?

If you don’t mind my asking?

A long time, I hope.

Or, at least, long enough to realise I try and watch a film, every so often.

Long enough, I hope, to realise there’s only so films I watch — and then write about — twice.

Counting this post?

There’s only two films that I’d put on that list.

One … ?

Is Event Horizon: twice I’ve seen it, on those oh so quiet nights.

The other?

Is the film I had to sit down with again: having learnt of the recent death of its director, the late Jonathan Demme.

One of only three films of his — along side Philadelphia and Stop Making Sense — that I’ve ever seen.

The crime film that is … 


Based on the Thomas Harris novel of the same name,  The Silence of the Lambs introduces us to trainee FBI agent, Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster): a trainee determined to do well for herself, but also haunted by the death of her father.

And a young woman determined — once that training is complete — determined to work in the FBI’s elite Behavioural Sciences Unit, for the veteran Special Agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn).

So determined to impress?

That, when Agent Crawford asks her to run an errand for him, she can’t help but agree.

That errand?   Is not to help the unit catch Buffallo Bill (Ted Levine), the last in a long line of serial killers to plague the USA.

But to do some persuading: persuade an imprisoned serial killer to fill in a form for the BSU’s criminal profiling team.

Of the one killer they really want to pin down.

The one that really does know his stuff … 

The monster, psychopath and psychiatrist, Dr Hannibal Lector*.

Hannibal the Cannibal … 

You can tell the case is serious, can’t you … ?


Can I be honest?

It’s my post, you can bet I’ll be honest.

There’s a lot of films I’ve enjoyed, over the years.

There’s fewer — thankfully — that I’ve having hated, not enjoyed or even just switched off.


I’m thankful that I’ve been able to sit down and say I’ve enjoyed the films I’ve seen: or, at least, found to have redeeming features.

There’s fewer films I’ve been able to say are works of genius.   The Awakening, springs to mind, or The Babadook, or Lynch’s The Elephant Man.

There are few films I could point at, and say “That’s genre defining.”

The original Star Wars is possibly the other such film I can think of.

After all, Lucas’ best known work turned SF from a genre that got you laughed at … into a genre that the media industry had to treat seriously, once it’s earning potential was noticed.

The Oscar winning The Silence of the Lambs?

Did the same: spawning an industry of forensic procedurals and serial killers films that no other movie could match.

I honestly think Demme — and the cast and crew he put together to make The Silence of the Lambs — is owed a belated Thank you.

The tragedy of his death?

Is that, dispute the well deserved Oscar he got for the film, he’s no-longer here to thank.

The Silence of the Lambs

*        Played — in the part that bagged him an Oscar — by Sir Anthony Hopkins.

No comments: