Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1991. Strong Heart/Demme Production, Orion Pictures. Screenplay by Ted Tally, based on the novel by Thomas Harris. Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto. Produced by Edward Saxon, Kenneth Utt, Ronald M. Bozman. Music by Howard Shore. Production Design by Kristi Zea. Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. Film Editing by Craig McKay. Podcast: My Criterions.
Thomas Harris’s second novel involving the terrifying Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter becomes one of the greatest thriller-horror films of all time. Jodie Foster is riveting as Clarice Sterling, an FBI agent in training whose aspirations to become a part of the Behavioural Sciences program come true quicker than she had originally hoped. Agent Scott Glenn entrusts her to perform a routine interview with the famous Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), who might know crucial information about a serial killer called Buffalo Bill, and Sterling’s job is to play innocent and get whatever help she can out of him. What she actually does is get knee-deep in the search for Bill, forming an oddly close friendship with the psychopathic Lecter based on his respect for her honesty and clarity of vision. Jonathan Demme’s classic is a terrifying and mindboggling masterpiece of suspense, one which delights in subverting genres by having the female protagonist of a horror story become the hunter instead of the traditionally hunted. The superb acting, fantastic moody photography by Tak Fujimoto and impeccable editing combined with Ted Tally’s letter-perfect screenplay make for one of the most unforgettable experiences you’ll ever have in front of a movie screen.
Academy Awards: Best Picture; Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins); Best Actress (Jodie Foster); Best Director (Jonathan Demme); Best Original Screenplay
Nominations: Best Film Editing; Best Sound
Berlin Film Festival Award: Best Director (Jonathan Demme) (tie)
Golden Globe Award: Best Actress-Drama (Jodie Foster)
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Drama (Anthony Hopkins); Best Director (Jonathan Demme); Best Screenplay