Silence Of The Lambs The Movie Silence Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Film Type: Essay Paper: #13920430 Related Topics: Cannibalism, Slaughterhouse Five, Serial Killers, Cinematography
Excerpt from Essay :

Silence of the Lambs

The movie Silence of the Lambs, released in 1991 has remarkably portrayed suspense, horror, intrigue and crime in such a mesh that is commendable in its story baseline and continues to thrill people of all generation with the plot that satisfies all limits of grotesque and cannibalistic criminal activities (Lehman, 2001). This research paper tends to explain how this movie satisfies its viewers in terms of being an exquisitely developed crime story event and how it continues to depict the ugly aspect of criminal activity involved with human killings and cannibalism. This movie also shows a strong female protagonist that develops into strength of the story by showing a bolstered character of courage and determination towards bringing end to a crime.

The ideology communicated by the movie

Although Silence of the lambs is based upon thriller and horror genres however it presents a unique ideology that was never presented in the movies created before its release. The ideology of this movie is based upon woman empowerment. The leading female protagonist in the movie, Clarice Starling is represented as a strong and motivated character that determinedly fights back her fears during inquiry and tries to keep away from being trapped into criminal strategy played by Anthony Hopkins in his role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Further, the character pictures a woman who take risks blatantly and pushes her limits in identifying, arresting and bringing justice to the most wanted criminal Jame Gumb "Buffalo Bill" played by Ted Levine (Lehman, 2001). The movie is progressive for the female gender as it gives a control to the character over his life, which is not seen in the past movies of the similar or varying genres. Starling portrays a character that despite of her childhood fear of hearing cries of lambs from the slaughterhouse where she spent a considerable amount of her childhood life, fights back the weakness, gains control of her and continues to show thriving behavior in achieving her goal. The movie has successfully shown how the next generation of women playing any role has become more empowered, more focused and more confident about her life decisions and of those surrounding her.

2. The meaning of the ideology communicated in the movie

As stated above, the movie defines the ideology of female empowerment by presenting the strong character of Clarice Starling acted by Jodie Foster. The ideology communicated in this movie is of feminist nature, which means that Anthony Hopkins and Ted Levine have showed the female protagonist as an empowering character despite of the strong criminal characters played. The character continues to show how a woman takes control of her fears and emotions and constantly strive to find answers and clues to resolve the case of serial killer Buffalo Bill. The movie tries to communicate a strong sense of crime involved with the strategic encounter of a female FBI Agent who although serves as a trainee agent however uses her speculative mind strength to deal with the chaotic situation arising in her surrounds (Lehman, 2001). The movie communicates that women can take control of their lives and can prove to be extremely viable in dealing with all matters of professional life. Clarice tries to enter into the mind of a criminal by inquiring another criminal who had shown similar criminal behavior in the past. In this journey of inquiry, she faces troubles when the criminal tries to manipulate her mental state related to her childhood memories. Thus, the female protagonist pictures the movie as a strong sense of woman empowerment.

3. The explanation the movie gives for crime

The explanation to crime given in this movie is based upon psychopath and cannibalism portrayed by the two criminal minds of the movie, Dr. Hannibal and Buffalo Bill. These two types of crime are intense in their own nature and can be related however, their relation is not always developed. Psychopath comes with the antisocial personality disorder that drives a person to kill people without a cause since he or she fails to develop interpersonal relationships due to lack of ability to love and care or to have guilt about his wrongdoings thus eliminating the fear of harming other individuals (Williams, 1996). On the other hand, both...


In this case, Buffalo Bill continues to rip of skins of his female victims to create skin outfits as a reaction to his failure in sex-change operation. The character of Buffalo Bill shows how he retaliates his childhood memories with his overbearing mother and tries to eliminate the pain of experience by going through a sex-change operation, which fails, and he is induced into killing of young females to collect their skin parchments for his satisfaction. Whereas Dr. Hannibal is seen, stating that he once enjoyed the liver of one of his victims with "some fava beans and nice Chianti." Both cannibalism and psychopath are the basic crimes developed in the story plot of the movie.

4. How does the movie portray good, evil, crime and justice?

In terms of portraying goodness in the nature of the movie, Clarice Starling would appear first into considerations. Starling has shown a positive side of a heroic individual who has a good nature of resolving the criminal mystery and getting into the roots of the crime and forcing the criminal to subjugate to law. She continues to be displayed as the light at the end of the tunnel that despite of being a trainee uses her intellect and good intentions to cease the criminal activities of Buffalo Bill (Williams, 1996). In another sense, the movie also shows Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal becoming 'favorite serial killer' for the audience with his overpowering mental capability and strategically placed thinking. The character becomes surprisingly favorite of many due to the repulsive performance of Anthony Hopkins driving people into liking him also mainly because Dr. Hannibal is smart and tricky and plays well with the mind of Starling.

Both Buffalo Bill and Dr. Hannibal portray the evil when it comes to criminal activity. Both have been shown to involve in the similar nature of crime. The killings of Buffalo Bill and escape of Dr. Hannibal both is depicted in the way that portrays evil intentions of the characters.

The justice served in the movie is by capturing of Buffalo Bill when Starling the FBI Agent captures Buffalo Bill however the fear remains still at the end of the movie when Dr. Hannibal makes return through a phone call and is shown to be continuing his massacre with Dr. Chilton. Buffalo Bill is captured and Starling remains satisfied with the feeling of turning those petrified lambs of her past into silence.

5. Attractive characters in the movie

The movie successfully attracts people who have affinity for horror and suspense in movies however, this movie is not limited to calling on attraction of people with a taste for blood and gore. The movie continues to attract with its short filmed yet most important character Dr. Hannibal who succeeds to develop himself into a favorite serial killer for all. The character of r. Hannibal may be considered overrated by the critics however; it is gradually drives and shifts one's perception of a killer into heroic form, which is eventually adored by everyone. The movie's excellent cinematography presenting Anthony Hopkins communicating directly into the camera lens initiates a chilling experience for the viewers (Williams, 1996).

6. How the crime film confers pleasure and/or inquiry?

Crime films successfully confer pleasure in a sense where we try to escape from realistic situation and imagine a more organized and surreal way of handling our daily life. With respect to Silence of the Lambs, the movie continues to confer pleasure on many levels. The sense of pleasure comes when we see how a crime movie is somehow going to end in a positive way. The situations are controlled and we act in a much cooler way when faced by a horrifying situation involving criminal activity. The opportunity to resolve a mystery and to use our own analytical skills gives us the pleasure of living the story and trying to identify the answers. In Silence of the Lambs, pleasure comes with Starling, a courageous and capable FBI trainee who strives to overcome her inner fears manipulated by Dr. Hannibal and eventually takes control and overpowers the loose criminal Buffalo Bill (Williams, 1996). Similarly, the inquiry also confers by enabling the two characters, Starling and Hannibal immensely involved in the inquiry while Hannibal tries to manipulate Starling by making her speak of her fears and her past experiences. The inquiry becomes even more interesting when Hannibal agreeably delivers his analysis to Starling regarding the criminal activity of Buffalo Bill. The questioning and answering brings the movie to a point where several branches led out in the plot of the story while only one leads to the conclusion.

7. How the director resolves the conflict between good…

Sources Used in Documents:


Lehman, P. (2001). Masculinity: Bodies, Movies, Culture. Chicago: Routledge.

Williams, T. (1996). Hearths of Darkness: The Family in the American Horror Film. Madison [u.a.]: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press [u.a.].

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