2008: A Cinematic Odyssey

Film Reviews and Other Pop Culture Happenings

Posts Tagged ‘the silence of the lambs’

TOP 10 #1: Favourite Movie Posters

Posted by Jesse on July 21, 2008

The is the first entry of a TOP 10 list. Once in a while I will be posting random Top 10 lists which relate to either film, music or some kind of other pop culture.

In this first edition of TOP 10, the subject is Favourite Movie Posters. The following list is my top 10 favourite movie posters of all time. There were some which I had to leave out, but I have decided that these 10 are my favourite. In reverse order, here is the list:

#10 Lord of War (2005)
Lord of War Poster

#9 Straw Dogs (1971)
Straw Dogs Poster

#8 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs Poster

#7 Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Breakfast at Tiffany's Poster

#6 Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Rosemary's Baby Poster

#5 All About Eve (1950)
All About Eve Poster

#4 Brick (2005)
Brick Poster

#3 The Descent (2005)
The Descent Poster

#2 Downhill Racer (1969)
Downhill Racer Poster

#1 Paris, je t’aime (2007)
Paris, je t'aime Poster

That’s it for this TOP 10.
Check back soon for the next edition of TOP 10.

-j.taylor

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Female Liberation + Serial Killers = Modern Horror Masterpiece

Posted by Jesse on July 20, 2008

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
director: Jonathan Demme
starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons

Foster and Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Foster and Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Horror films have forever been popular in movie-going society, but not until The Silence of the Lambs was released did the genre take a drastic turn. Not only does this film excel at frightening its viewers and giving them nightmares about cannibalistic serial killers, more importantly, it breaks the the old horror film stereotypes and introduces fresh and very brave new film conventions. Horror films have almost always portrayed women as weak and helpless characters. They’re always either the damsel in distress, being rescued one way or another by a man or the promiscuous teenager who is naked for half of the film. The Silence of the Lambs takes the weak female character stereotype and completely reverses it. In this film, the main character, Clarice Starling, is a strong, independent woman who holds her own in a male-dominated workplace and solves the mystery without any help from men. This may sound like a feminist rant, but this is a groundbreaking film in terms of female liberation and deserves high recognition.

This film is hardly geared toward women, but it does directly deal with the role of a strong woman in a male-dominated society. This political statement propels the main character into the history books as one of the most important heroines of all-time. However, Clarice Starling isn’t the first female heroine in a horror film (even though she may be the most popular). Ellen Ripley from the Alien films made her debut in 1979 in the horror franchise and not only kicked alien ass, but film stereotype’s ass into the history books as a strong female heroine in a horror film. Starling is played flawlessly by Jodie Foster, a role she was born to play. Foster shines in all of the scenes, but most evidently in the scenes with Anthony Hopkins. She is brilliant and their eerie chemistry is almost pleasing to watch. Foster was lucky enough to take home the Oscar for her portrayal of Clarice Starling which is, undoubtedly, one of the most deserved Oscars in recent memory.

Aside from the feminism, this film has other groundbreaking elements to it as well. The film’s main male character is Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. Dr. Lecter was once a psychiatrist, but was arrested for murder and found to be a serial killing cannibal, hence the nickname he acquired. What’s shocking about Lecter is his tone and diction. He’s a very intelligent man, but uses his wisdom and serenity in a way that draws you in as he fools with your mind. What’s groundbreaking about this character is that he is a villain, but he isn’t the villain the protagonist is looking for. He actually aids the Clarice into finding the “bad guy” from behind his bars. Lecter is portrayed by the fantastic Anthony Hopkins, who also took home an Oscar for his 17-minute performance. Hopkins’ performance is the shortest to win an Oscar for Best Actor, but it is far from small in power. Although given such a short amount of screen time, Hopkins steals the film as Hannibal Lecter and creates what has become one of the most popular and recognizable film characters of all time. He is frighteningly chilling and evokes such evil in his eyes that he becomes the character.

In the scene where Starling visits Lecter in prison for the first time and for most of the thrilling conclusion, the cinematography stood out as brilliant and I could not get it out of my mind. Cinematographer Tak Fujimoto has worked on many films (Badlands, Philadelphia and The Sixth Sense to name a few) and has been recognized by many critics and film institutions to be one of the best cinematographers out there. Fujimoto worked with director Jonathan Demme on The Silence of the Lambs so wonderfully and produced some of the most frightening scenes in film history. Fujimoto utilizes so many different camera angles in this film that intensify the scenes and generate such great suspense. He is a master of his craft and he proves this to us through his excellent work in this film.

Recognized as one of the greatest films of all-time by many sources, The Silence of the Lambs was a huge success when it was released in 1991 and has endured time and is still a huge success now. Creating two legendary film characters, one who is one of the most recognized villains of all time and the other who is one of the greatest heroines of all time, staying true to the novel which the film was based on and winning five Oscars in the major categories is only a few of this films’ achievements. It’s an iconic thriller and has gone down as one of the best. If you have been living under a rock and haven’t seen this film, I cannot recommend it more. See it, you won’t regret it.

Theatrical trailer for the film:

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