1991's THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is a terrific movie based on a fantastic Thomas Harris book. Powered by an all-star cast and great direction, its one of those rare instances where the film is every bit the equal of the read.
Jodie Foster stars as FBI cadet Clarice Starling, fresh off the farm, smart and hungry.
Starling is the innocent lamb to the psychological slaughter as she interviews incarcerated serial cannibal Hannibal Lecter, played in an all time great performance by Anthony Hopkins.
FBI Agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) is Clarice's boss and wisely feels that she will get Hannibal to open up with what he knows about a killer than has kidnapped the daughter of a congresswoman.
Soon, Hannibal is toying with Clarice, while feeding her accurate information, but always with an angle toward his own escape.
Thomas Harris adapts his own book for the screen alongside screenwriter Ted Tally (Red Dragon) and Director Jonathan Demme (Philadelphia) keeps the story flying along through plenty of now classic, suspenseful scenes.
Hopkins has never been better, conveying the intelligence and cunning of Lecter, drawing the viewer ever closer, until he explodes with violence, murder and a taste for flesh.
Foster's matches him step for step, Glenn is great as Crawford and they get great support from Anthony Heald as Dr. Chilton and Ted Levine as Jame Gumm ("Put the lotion in the basket!").
More than twenty years later, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS proves timeless, intelligent and just as intense as it was in its premiere.
It's rare that a film wins all 5 Top Oscars, but Lambs deservedly did, for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay.
The final scene is a great example of what could have been predictable in a lesser film, but becomes art here, ending with Clarice's fateful ringing of a doorbell.
Fast, smart and scary, LAMBS gets a bloody A+ and a spot in my all time Top 100.
(Perfect with some fava beans and a nice Chianti perhaps?)
Followed ten years later by HANNIBAL.