Based on the 1988 best-selling novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs, an Orion Pictures release, is a terrifying and convincing psychological thriller of the highest order. In a riveting performance which surpasses her Academy Award-winning one in The Accused, Jody Foster plays Clarice Starling, an ambitious FBI recruit who is enlisted by her mentor in the agency to join the search for a serial killer nicknamed Buffalo Bill. This sociopath shoots his female victims and then skins them; his latest hostage is a U.S. senator's daughter. Clarice approaches this case as a woman warrior. To find out more about the habits of this madman, Clarice goes to a mental asylum to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, an insane psychiatrist who carved up nine people and feasted on portions of their flesh. In one of the most chilling and macabre scenes in the film, Lecter convinces Clarice to reveal painful childhood memories in exchange for clues about Buffalo Bill. He is not the only one who tries to dominate and control her. This dedicated and focused woman must cast aside her boss's sexist slight of her in the presence of a group of policemen, and she must ignore the sexual advances of several different men during the investigation. While other thrillers put the accent on grim scenes of mayhem, director Jonathan Demme has chosen to celebrate the heroism of a modern day woman warrior whose journey into the heart of darkness helps her triumph over childhood fears.
Jody Foster's sterling performance is matched by Anthony Hopkins's chilling performance as Lecter. It is one of the scariest and most sinister portraits of evil incarnate ever put on celluloid. The mad psychiatrist is an amoral monster.