Analysis Of Demme's Silence Of The Lambs

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Despite the cosmetic differences between the literary and filmic Lecter, the idea of intellectual domination permeates both the book and the film. The essential idea of Silence of the Lambs is the nature of evil, the unmatched cruelty of human nature. Evil, and its derivatives, are found throughout the story, throughout all characters; Chilton abuses his inmates, Crawford selfishly lies to Starling, Buffalo Bill kills, and Hannibal Lecter manipulates. Like Lecter, characters are trapped in constricting cells of malevolence. The book presents Lecter’s predilection with violence as unconscious, inherent to his very nature and, while the Lecter of the film appears to be conscious of his illness and malfeasance, both book and film see Lecter as…show more content…
The film does not simply copy the imagery presented in the novel. Demme’s Silence of the Lambs extends the themes of the book into his direction, composing the camera in a way that reflects the values of the novel. Demme’s signature straight-on close-ups make an appearance, wherein the actors directly address the camera and, by extension, the audience as well. As Crawford and Starling discuss her progress in the Behavioral Science unit of the FBI, Demme is able to use this technique to emphasize the uncertain identity of the central…show more content…
Until now, the audience has only heard about Dr. Lecter; his butchery, his brutality, his danger. Through the use of perspective, Harris is able to to convey the psychologically dominating aura of Lecter, creating the precise tone and mood to develop the infamous character. To set the tone via perspective, the narrator steps inside Clarice’s shoes. “For a second, she thought her gaze hummed, but it was only her blood she heard.” The morbid connection between environment and blood darkens the tone and directly attributes Lecter and death. Harris’s use of free indirect style guides the scene; the most effective way to convey an emotion as subjective as fear is to see from the perspective of the character. When Agent Starling speaks for the first time, Harris writes “‘Dr. Lecter,’ her voice sounded all right to her,” to not only convey Clarice’s immediate apprehension to being in same room as Lecter, but also to convey his ability to control the space so easily. The implication of such an exchange is a deeply effective portrayal of fear from the subjective perspective of a
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