The Silence of the Lambs is a 2015 American thriller film directed by David Fincher based on the 1988 Thomas Harris novel of the same name. The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow as FBI trainee Clarice Starling and Michael Fassbender as Hannibal Lecter. The film is a sequel to Red Dragon and was followed by Hannibal.
Clarice Starling is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy by Jack Crawford, the head of the FBI's behavioural science unit. She is tasked with interviewing the brilliant psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, who is incarcerated due to also being a cannibalistic serial killer. Crawford thinks that Lecter's insight might be useful in catching serial killer Buffalo Bill.
Starling visits Lecter and meets the hospital director Frederick Chilton, who is abusive of the inmates. Lecter is polite and courteous to Starling, but grows impatient with her questions. He demands know what she really wants and she tells him about Buffalo Bill; his modus operandi is kidnapping overweight women, starving them for three or four days, and then killing and skinning them before dumping their bodies in nearby rivers. Lecter offers Starling a deal; he will create a profile of Buffalo Bill if he is promised a transfer out of the hospital so as to get away from Chilton, who he despises. Starling tells him that she cannot authorize such as a deal, so Lecter becomes uncooperative and she leaves.
Shortly thereafter, Buffalo Bill kidnaps his latest victim; Catherine Martin, the daughter of US Senator Ruth Martin. No one less than the President has expressed intense interest in the case, so Crawford makes the decision to allow Starling to make the deal with Lecter. At the same time, Buffalo Bill's previous victim is found and a moth pupa is found in her mouth. It is identified as a Black Witch Moth, which is not found in the area that the body was found.
Starling visits Lecter once again, and they build up a strange relationship; he tells what he knows about Buffalo Bill in return for her giving him details about her traumatic childhood, but one incident she constantly skirts around. Lecter begins to break her down mentally, and finally starts pleading with Lecter to tell her what he knows. He refuses to unless she tells him what happened to her when she was younger.
Starling finally reveals that she was an orphan and was sent to live with her uncle on a farm in Monatana. She enjoyed spending time with the sheep, her favourite one being named Mischa, until one night she heard odd screams being emitted from a large shed found on the land. She went over and to her horror learned that it was a slaughterhouse. She then tried to rescue Mischa, but was unsuccessful and her uncle killed Mischa. Lecter then gives Starling the case file he created on Buffalo Bill and thanks her, the two sharing a brief personal connection before Chilton arrives and escorts Starling from the building.
Unknown to Starling, she accidentally gave Lecter a paperclip during one of her visits, enabling him to fashion a lockpick. Later that night, he is to be finally transferred, and Chilton accompanies him, wishing to see Lecter off personally. However, Lecter escapes from his handcuffs and kills his guards before strangling Chilton with his chains. More security personnel arrive, so Lecter takes Chilton as his hostage and manages to escape, leaving Chilton barely alive and gasping for air. Scars are left on his neck where Lecter choked him.
Starling analyzes Lecter's notes and realises that Buffalo Bill knew his first victim personally. She travels to the victim's hometown and learns that Buffalo Bill is really Jame Gumb, a tailor. She deduces that he is trying to create a suit from women's skin and Crawford finds that Gumb had applied unsuccessfully for a sex change operation. They track Gumb to Illinois.
Crawford and a SWAT team descend on Gumb's adress, but find the house empty. Starling, who accompanied them, goes down into the cellar and finds that it connects to a tunnel system. She wanders off into them without notifying Crawford, who thinks that they are too late and that Gumb has fled.
Starling discovers Catherine, chained to the floor, and tries to free her, when suddenly everything is plunged into darkness. Gumb appears, wearing night vision goggles, and stalks the terrified Starling through the darkness. He almost has her until he cocks his revolver, giving his position away. Starling spins around just in time and shoots Gumb to death, the gunshots alerting Crawford and the SWAT team to the tunnels. Catherine is then rescued.
A short time later, Catherine and Senator Martin thank Starling at her FBI graduation party. Starling receives a phone call, which turns out to be from Lecter, calling from an airport in Bimini. He tells her that he has no plans to pursue her, and hopes she can return the favour. She replies that they both know she can't do that. Lecter tells her that he hopes the lambs have stopped screaming, and that he is having an old friend for dinner. He hangs up and begins to follow an unsuspecting Chilton, who has just arrived, and vanishes into the crowd.
Gwyneth Paltrow - Clarice Starling
Michael Fassbender - Hannibal Lecter
Casey Affleck - Jame Gumb
Sam Elliot - Jack Crawford
Thomas Kretschmann - Frederick Chilton
Rebel Wilson - Catherine Martin
Madeline Stowe - Ruth Martin