Plot: A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.
People who choose to put other people through their own digestive tracts have always captured the imagination of the world. For me the very first question is, to cannibals, why though? Kuru brain disease presents itself in the New Guinea inhabitants who chow on their tribe mates. It’s a debilitating neurological disease and sounds really quite unpleasant to me. Also, cooking normal meat can be so tiring and now you want to put human skin through that process? Ick, Ick, Ick.
This film famously won the big five at the Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Actress, best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Tally). I can say yes, I agree, to all five awards. Anthony Hopkins takes on the most famous imaginary (hopefully) cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter and I have literally never seen anyone give such a frightening and perfect performance. He seems to have genuinely terrified Jodie Foster, who gives an equally brilliant performance as Clarice Starling, the new FBI agent who is tasked with corresponding with Lecter in the hopes to track down cannibalistic serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). It is almost easy to overlook the brilliance of Levine’s work here when his other co-stars were as amazing as they were, but Bill is creepy and terrifying in his own right.
I also liked that Clarice experienced onscreen sexism – it kept it real. She’s an obviously brilliant young agent but she’s a woman and therefore must experience some skepticism and glances. Her relationship with Lecter is fascinating and Foster’s ability to switch between terrified and intrigued is wonderful.
The move is tense and broody and Jonathon Demme created a bleak and intense atmosphere. The last few scenes alone with Bill and Clarice is full of harsh shallow breathing and sharp light, and I found myself creeping inwards toward my blanket, not knowing who would win, Clarice or Bill.
I watched The Godfather Part I and Part II in my first Blindspot year, and this is the only film that has reached that level of excellence. It’s a thriller (compared to the Horror I was expecting), superbly acted and intense. The story is solid and compelling, and leaves enough room at the end to guarantee your return for the next in the franchise.