The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

There's a killer on the loose who knows that beauty is only skin deep, and a trainee investigator who's trying to save her own hide. The only man that can help is locked in an asylum. But he's willing to put a brave face on — if it will help him escape....

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Title:The Silence of the Lambs
Author:Thomas Harris
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Edition Language:English

The Silence of the Lambs Reviews

  • Alejandro

    Back then, in 1991, I didn't know that

    had been first a book, and even less that it was actually the second book in the literary series, but...

    ...I knew that the film adaptation became, in an instant, one of my all-time favorite films. A game changer indeed that swept away with the 5 most respected awards by the Academy (best film, best script, best director, b

    Back then, in 1991, I didn't know that

    had been first a book, and even less that it was actually the second book in the literary series, but...

    ...I knew that the film adaptation became, in an instant, one of my all-time favorite films. A game changer indeed that swept away with the 5 most respected awards by the Academy (best film, best script, best director, best actor and best actress) that you can't diminish since this particular combination of these 5 Oscars, had been only accomplished three times in the history of the Oscars,

    (1934) and

    (1975), along with the said film.

    A curious thing is that while Dr. Hannibal Lecter became the lead character of the book series generating adaptations of each book along with a TV series inspired in the said character...

    ...for me, my attachment to

    was the young FBI trainee Clarice Starling, since she was a formidable character facing overwhelming challenges: dealing with disturbing interviews with the insidious Dr. Hannibal Lecter, an unwilling pawn of FBI Special Agent Jack Crawford, and having to face the insanely dangerous "Buffalo Bill".

    Clarice Starling is a beacon of light in the middle of a hopeless world of darkness. She is smart, intuitive, resourceful and brave.

    Hardly, anyone thinks himself as the villain, each character (real or fiction) thinks that they are doing the right thing and that the end justifies the means...

    ...and young FBI trainee Clarice Starling is "the means" for Special Agent Jack Crawford to get the insight of Dr. Hannibal Lecter about the case of the criminally insane one known as "Buffalo Bill", so exposing an unexperienced Starling to the wicked cunning Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is justified if that can accomplish the arrest of the wanted serial killer.

    This kind of "justified manipulation" isn't strange to Crawford since he has done it before with Special Investigator Will Graham, that not matter his natural talent to get to know how the serial killers think, Graham was already a fragile character looking for peace of mind when he was "persuaded" to become involved once again in a serial killer case and getting inside the world of Dr. Hannibal Lecter again with disastrous outcome.

    Now, it's turn for young Clarice to become a "pawn" of Jack Crawford that while his intentions are "good" in the angle that he genuinely wants to arrest criminals, he's leaving collateral damage in the path of those manhunting crusades.

    Clarice may not fall now...

    ...but she's already in the watch of Dr. Hannibal Lecter and it was Crawford who put her there.

    It seems that the serial killers world, at least in the literary universe created by Thomas Harris, is so small that a character like Dr. Hannibal Lecter, where you have to take in mind that he was a renown psychiatrist too, well, it isn't that hard to notice the particular M.O.s of each criminally insane murderers, and soon enough knowing who in the middle of that twisted club is the designer on each killing spree.

    And Dr. Lecter knows that.

    He knows that he is a necessary evil for being able by the forces of the law to catch other menaces of this same kind of wicked breed,

    And of course, Dr. Lecter has a plan.

    He is patient. There is not hurry.

    He already got his payback to his accidental captor.

    Now, it could be good to get his freedom back.

    Since after all, the world is just too boring without him there.

    And that fool Jack Crawford keeps sending him the tools to get what he wants.

    Dr. Hannibal Lecter is ready to

    the whole world once again.

    Be afraid.

    Be very afraid...

    ...and turn to look if somebody is following you, ready to take you for dinner.

  • Ana

    It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.

    This line will be forever etched in my memory! So creepy. And yet so memorable.

    The Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite movies, by the way. It is a movie that I find deeply fascinating (I promise I'm not a serial killer). It never fails to give me chills. It's scary because it's realistic. Some the events of the film actually happened in real life. The novel is no less brilliant than the movie. Thomas Harris spent years res

    It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.

    This line will be forever etched in my memory! So creepy. And yet so memorable.

    The Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite movies, by the way. It is a movie that I find deeply fascinating (I promise I'm not a serial killer). It never fails to give me chills. It's scary because it's realistic. Some the events of the film actually happened in real life. The novel is no less brilliant than the movie. Thomas Harris spent years researching the psychological profiles of serial killers. The book was inspired by the real-life relationship between criminology professor and profiler Robert Keppel and serial killer Ted Bundy. The Buffalo Bill character was actually a composite of three real-life killers: Ed Gein, Ted Bundy and Gary Heidnick. If that's not scary, I don't know what is.

    The book has a very strong dark, gothic feel to it. I could imagine myself as Clarice, walking down that cell corridor. You feel as though you're a character in the story. And that's not a place you want to be.

    Thomas Harris is a brilliant author. The Silence of the Lambs is one of the most gripping thrillers ever written. Same goes for its predecessor, Red Dragon. (The movie wasn't as good as the book. Forgive me Ralph Fiennes, my love!)

    I hadn't read Hannibal.

    What more can I say? The movie is awesome. The book is awesome. The characters are awesome. The plot is awesome. Everything is awesome. Except murdering people. No. Just, no. That's not awesome.

    P.S.

    I think the one on the right is so much scarier.

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  • Martine

    Call me a freak, but I have a bit of a crush on Hannibal Lecter. He may be the scariest fuck out there (certainly scarier than the supposed monster of the book, Buffalo Bill), but he just oozes style and knowledge. In fact, he has so much style and knowledge that he doesn't come off as a ridiculous prick when he says things like, 'A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone'* or 'Can you smell his sweat? That peculiar goatish odour is trans-3-

    Call me a freak, but I have a bit of a crush on Hannibal Lecter. He may be the scariest fuck out there (certainly scarier than the supposed monster of the book, Buffalo Bill), but he just oozes style and knowledge. In fact, he has so much style and knowledge that he doesn't come off as a ridiculous prick when he says things like, 'A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone'* or 'Can you smell his sweat? That peculiar goatish odour is trans-3-methyl-2 hexenoic acid. Remember it, it's the smell of schizophrenia.' Quite the contrary -- he sounds

    saying these things. Sophisticated, even. In this and many other ways, Dr Lecter is so utterly fascinating that you'll still find yourself rooting for him after he has committed several heinous (but brilliant!) murders, hoping he'll stay out of the hands of the police and live out his life in freedom. Now that's quality writing for you.

    As you can probably tell from the above, I like

    , which is to say the book on which the movie was based. Except for the fact that Harris makes Clarice rather stupid** and that the dialogue in the book is a bit too clever and masculine for its own good***, it's a solid and exciting will-they-find-him-in-time-to-save-the-girl story -- a page-turner if ever there was one. The characters aren't terribly easy to identify with, but that's all right, because for one thing, they're

    (had I mentioned that yet?), and for another, they all have a clearly defined quest. They don't necessarily have the

    quest, but hey, that only serves to increase the tension.

    In some regards the book is better than the film. Remember those stupid anagrams from the movie? They're not in the book (except for the bilirubin one, which I actually quite like). The book makes its connections in a much more logical, less what-the-fuck?-ish way. It also has a more realistic romance, though not necessarily a better one. On the down side, I think Thomas Harris must have kicked himself for not having come up with the closing line of the film ('I'm having an old friend for dinner') himself. In my opinion, it's the best closing line in cinematic history, unmatched by the ending of the book. Still, it's a satisfying read. Very satisfying. As satisfying as the movie, and that's saying a fair bit.

    ......................

    * Yes, that's what he says in the book. Not 'a nice Chianti'. I've been reliably informed by those in the know (I myself do not actually drink wine) that Amarone and Chianti are not in fact the same thing. 'Chianti' does sound better than 'Amarone' in this line, doesn't it?

    ** In the book, Dr Lecter tells Clarice in one of their first interviews that Billy has kidnapped large-chested Catherine Martin because 'he wants a vest with tits on it'. He then goes on to say in their next meeting that 'Billy is making a girl suit out of real girls'. And despite these incredibly obvious clues (which cannot be rude jokes on Lecter's part as he's far too sophisticated to make such rude jokes) it takes Clarice, who is supposed to be

    intelligent, the entire rest of the book to figure out what it is that Billy wants from his victims. They wisely changed that in the movie, where Clarice doesn't have her entire quest spelled out for her right at the beginning.

    *** I've never met any women who speak to each other the way Clarice and Ardelia do. Then again, I've never met any brilliant FBI trainees, so what do I know? Perhaps they do speak to each other like that at Quantico. I guess I'll never find out. (Anyone out there have FBI-trained friends? Anyone? Bueller?)

  • Stephen

    Out of respect for Thomas Harris’s superb novel, I have decided that no pictures of

    will appear in this review. Thank you for your understanding.

    4.0 to 4.5 stars. Another one of those terrific situations where I saw the movie first (and loved it) and then eventually decided to read the book... and loved it too. Score!!! Now assuming that most people not suffering from the after-effects of severe head trauma know the basic plot concerning FBI trainee “

    Out of respect for Thomas Harris’s superb novel, I have decided that no pictures of

    will appear in this review. Thank you for your understanding.

    4.0 to 4.5 stars. Another one of those terrific situations where I saw the movie first (and loved it) and then eventually decided to read the book... and loved it too. Score!!! Now assuming that most people not suffering from the after-effects of severe head trauma know the basic plot concerning FBI trainee “

    ” Starling, while trying to kibosh a Psychotic Vera Wang wannabe named Buffalo Bill, starts an unconventional relationship with extreme culinary expert Dr. Hannibalicious Lecter, I thought I would give you my take on the whole movie wins/book wins debate.

    Please note that I am going to feel completely free to drop spoilers without warning from here on out so....recognize.

    1. First, I thought the movie’s treatment of Starling’s time on the Sheep and Horse farm was much better, probably in large part due to Jodie Foster really nailing the angst factor as she describes trying to save a spring lamb from slaughter (in the book it was horses being slaughtered that she was tripping about). Here the movie wins and I can still close my eyes and here Foster/Starling saying “the lambs were screaming” and “it was cold, so cold.” She made that scene her chew toy and it is a wonderful example of taking more and condensing it into a more powerful less.

    2. The End of the movie, Lecter stalking Dr. Chilton and ending his phone conversation with Starling by saying,

    YUM!!! One of my favorite lines/ideas from the movie and I was very bitter that it did not have an analog in the book. The Booest of Hoos on that.

    AND SURPRISINGLY...that is it for the movies clear superiority. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie and think they did much EXCEPTIONALLY well. However, I was shocked in reading the book that most the best parts in the movie (including Lecter, which shocked me) were handled equally effectively in the book. Thus, where I think it was a tie or too close to call, I have decided not to put it in one camp or another. With that said....on to the book.

    1. Need to start with Lector and this is a surprise because Sir Anthony made this role his like few people on movie history. However, I am not talking about what was in both the movie and the book as I think it is a push, to a slight edge to Mr. Hopkins. No, I am talking about the one AMAZING insight the book provides to the character. Namely, Lecter’s motivation is about “amusing himself.” This single thread running through the book makes Lecter a far darker, far more sinister character (which also explains why hollywood downplayed it to land Hopkins in the role). Walking away from the book, the reader has a much better sense of Lector as a conscience-lacking entity of pure evil, than we get from the movie. Kudos to Mr. Harris on that point.

    2. As good as Scott Glenn is in the movie, his character found way too much time on the editing room floor and the book truly develops well. His scene with the head of John Hopkins university is one that truly should have found a way on screen as I thought it was perfect.

    3. Jame

    Gumb (aka Buffalo Bill). As wonderfully icky as Ted Levine is in the movie, he comes across as just a nutso on screen with the naked “tuck” dance an the lotion commercials. Meanwhile, in lit land, Gumby is shown to be so....SAVAGE and calculating that all of the nutso stuff takes on a far more sinister aspect. I was deeply disturbed by the depiction of Gumb’s craft skills and the movie never hammered that home enough.

    Overall, I was deeply impressed with both the movie and book, but the book really gets the gold star for being able to work with my love of the movie and still blow me away. In closing, if you have only seen the movie, you should read the book and if you have only read the book, you should see the movie as it is deeply respectful of the source material. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

    P.S. I listened to the audio version read by Frank Muller and he was his usual perfection.

    P.P.S. I was fairly insulted that the movie makers felt the need to change Amarone to Chianti (in the famous fava beans scene) presumably because they didn't think the "audience" would get it. OUCH!!

  • Darth J

    So, I read these books out of order. I started with

    (which gives better background and fleshes out the character of Lecter much more than the mess that was

    ), then read

    and finally this one.

    I just have such a deep respect and admiration for her (also, Jodie why didn't you come back for the sequel?? I mean, Moore was great but I don't like a break in continuity, nor do I like how they changed the ending of

    w

    So, I read these books out of order. I started with

    (which gives better background and fleshes out the character of Lecter much more than the mess that was

    ), then read

    and finally this one.

    I just have such a deep respect and admiration for her (also, Jodie why didn't you come back for the sequel?? I mean, Moore was great but I don't like a break in continuity, nor do I like how they changed the ending of

    where

    .

    I was about 12 when I read these books and what really resonated with me, more than the tête-à-têtes, was the sheer intelligence of both Starling and Lecter. Both equally formidable characters

    , Clarice and Hannibal are some of the most interesting characters that I've ever read about. Please, dear writers, learn from them.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

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