The Silence of the Lambs grabbed me by the balls at about the twenty minute mark – from our introduction to Hannibal Lecter, to ninety minutes later as he climactically and satisfyingly proclaims he is “having an old friend for dinner”, The Silence of the Lambs quickly ascended through my list of favourite thrillers. Not necessarily smashing the genre’s status quo, but intense, disturbing, and most importantly, thrilling, it’s two hours that simultaneously reel past, and creep by.
It’s the humanity-wide fascination with the morbid that accounts for the popularity of serial killer movies, but The Silence of the Lambs probably owes its success instead to the pop culture misunderstanding of psychology – with that, the film covers its own back, setting Lecter up as a villain who can out-think the audience and the FBI, and ensuring we suspend any and all disbelief to just enjoy the ride.
Enjoy it I did. I feel as though I’ve lost some innocence. As though there’s a little Hannibal in me right now. I chalk it up to the consistent use of POV, which, although perhaps done to bring us closer to protagonist Clarice Starling, actually made me feel as though we were joining in on this kind of psycho-analytical contest between Starling and Lecter. Between the two of them and me, we were all trying to get into each other’s heads. And while I don’t understand psychology any better, that technique alone brought me dangerously close to revelling in the madness.