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The Silence of the Lambs

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Psychological thriller, with emphasis on the adjective. You get a great many extreme closeups, as though the camera wanted to bore into the brain through the eyeballs or crawl there through the nostrils (and Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins give you plenty of surface activity, too), and you get a handful of unhelpful flashbacks to childhood. The main result of this probing is that you find out the FBI trainee had a reason to want to become an FBI trainee. The details of the case at hand are appallingly lurid: the serial killer, a would-be transsexual with a pet poodle, skins his victims; the incarcerated psychiatrist who offers counsel on the matter is a ravenous cannibal — and then you come to a smaller detail like the stark-naked lunatic who hurls a fistful of semen through his cell door into the face of a passing female. More stomachably, you get a wildly improbable jailbreak, staged with complete conviction, and a climactic rescue that sustains tension nearly all the way to its bankrupt conclusion. With Scott Glenn; directed by Jonathan Demme. (1991) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated R | 1 hour, 58 minutes
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