9,1 of 10;
A psychopath known as "Buffalo Bill" (Ted Levine) is kidnapping and murdering young women across the Midwest. Believing it takes one to know one, the F.B.I. sends trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) to interview a demented prisoner who may provide psychological insight and clues to the killer's actions. The prisoner is psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant, murderous cannibal who will only help Starling if she feeds his morbid curiosity with details of her own complicated life. This twisted relationship forces Starling to not only confront her psychological demons, but leads her face to face with a demented, heinous killer; an incarnation of evil so powerful, that she may not have the courage, or strength, to stop him
When you watch a movie considered an absolute classic, you expect to be thrilled and taken away, for me though, I just wasn’t. Now I’m not saying this is bad far from it, but it just isn’t for me what everyone cracks it up to be, it’s good but I fail to see why it is considered a masterpiece. I would watch it again as it is enjoyable and a genuinely good thriller, but part of me feels it has maybe aged a little too much since it came out, but that doesn’t doubt some of the performances.
The true star of the movie is Anthony Hopkins (or for some it is Jodie Foster, pick a side) and he seems to emit a certain eeriness about him, and to say he is in this movie for so little time and yet won an Oscar, well it is testament to his skill. As for Foster prefer her or not to Hopkins she is also a worthy actor here and some of the mind battles between her and Hopkins’s Lecter are very fine scenes indeed. For me though the acting is where the slight overrating of this movie arrives and that is because people say about the performances as if they are what makes this incredible, but for me the acting although brilliant, does not make up for the entire piece.
And on the point here of the plot, well the story is sinister, devilishly put together but never too much like a basic horror movie. See the film has a way of being physiologically scary rather than gruesome jumpy scenes kind of scary, sure there are a lot of dark moments but it wouldn’t give you nightmares. I found the story to be interesting, the whole thing about Clarice meeting with Hopkins to find Buffalo Bill is an interesting concept, and the whole plot about Buffalo Bill himself is also fairly interesting too. It is Buffalo Bill who makes this movie not like others, a crazed killer but who is calculated albeit mentally scarred, a fascinating look into the killers mind.
Jonathan Demme directs and he is OK, he never really made me think «Oh wow this director is fantastic» but nevertheless I did feel his job here was done well. As for the script well I have never read the original source material, but the adapted screenplay in any case is very nicely done, Ted Tally creates something that will live on in cinema history. The cinematography is also nice; the straight to face camera angles work well when people are having conversations and Tak Fujimoto’s work all together is very nicely done.
The reason I think I didn’t enjoy this maybe as much as others is that it could be dated now. The movie isn’t the scariest; I didn’t find it much frightening at all and although as I say Buffalo Bill is a fascinating character as well as Lecter, neither really sent shivers. That said the film is I believe meant to be more about the psychological side of these characters, and especially with Lecter, although we see his horrific side, we don’t see a lot. There is no doubt Hopkins deserved his awards, same story with Foster and a lot of it’s wins too, but for me best picture was not something it deserved, it just for me wasn’t enjoyable enough, didn’t engage me near as much as others say it did for them.
Overall I feel slightly disappointed after viewing this; I came in with high expectations but left having seen a good movie, but not a masterpiece. I just can’t see why people believe this to be so good, maybe you have to watch this with your nose pressed against the screen but I will one day watch this again and reflect on whether I feel my feelings about this have changed.