The Silence of the Lambs is a 2021 American horror-thriller film directed by Fede Alvarez and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Spacey, and Paul Dano. The film was adapted by George Noifi from Thomas Harris's 1988 novel of the same name, as well as the 1991 film adaption of the same name. The story focuses on a young FBI novice who looks for help in catching another serial killer named Buffalo Bill from an infamous psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in an effort to rescue the kidnapped daughter of U.S. Senator Ruth Martin.

Plot Synopsis

FBI trainee Clarice Starling is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia by Jack Crawford of the Bureau's Behavioral Science Unit. He assigns her to interview Hannibal Lecter, a former psychiatrist and incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, whose insight might prove useful in the pursuit of a serial killer known as Buffalo Bill, who skins the corpses of his female victims.

Starling makes her way to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where she is led by psychiatrist and administrator, Dr. Frederick Chilton, to the lower levels of the hospital in which Lecter is kept, along with a couple of other patients. Lecter is unusually calm and polite, but becomes frustrated with Starling's frugal attempts to get information out of him. When she is leaving, one of mentally unstable patients flicks his semen at her. As retribution, Lecter instructs Starling to find one of his old patient's, before convincing the patient who flicked the semen to swallow his own tongue, killing him.

When Starling follows Lecter's lead, she discovers the decapitated head of one of Bill's victims in an abandoned storage building. Following this, one of Bill's other victims is discovered in a small town. While doing a postmortem on the woman, Starling discovers a Death's Head Hawkmoth cocoon stuck inside her throat. Starling interviews Lecter once more and he reveals that the murdered man discovered in the storage building is connected to Bill as well. He then offers to give Starling a psychological profile of Buffalo Bill, but only if he is to be transferred to a nicer hospital, and without Chilton, who he loathes.

Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill tricks a young woman named Catherine Martin, who is the daughter of U.S. Senator Ruth Martin, by posing as a handicapped man in need of help, before knocking her unconscious and taking her back to his home, where he imprisons her in his large basement. Crawford gives the go-ahead on Lecter's offer, but only if he follows through on Bill's psychological profile and Catherine is successfully rescued. However, Lecter goes back on the offer, demanding quid pro quo from Starling, offering clues to Bill's identity in exchange for intimate information about herself. She tells him about the murder of her father when she was a child. Dr. Chilton tapes the conversation without their knowledge, revealing Starling's deception, and offering Lecter his own bargain. Lecter agrees and is transported to Memphis, Tennessee where he speaks with Senator Martin, psychologically toying with her, before issuing them false information about Buffalo Bill, such as the name Louis Friend.

Starling is able to make out the anagram of iron sulfide from the name, which is also known as fool's gold. She visits Lecter at a courthouse in Tennessee, where he is being held by authorities, demanding the truth from him. Lecter tells her all the information she needs is in the case file. He then forces her to remember a traumatic childhood memory in which she was woken by the screams of spring lambs being slaughtered on her uncle's farm in Montana, where she was raised following the murder of her father. She had attempted to rescue one of the lambs, but failed and was sent away from the farm as a result. Lecter believes she is still haunted by the memory and is motivated to rescue Catherine in the hopes it will help her to recover from it.

Dr. Lecter hands over the files on Buffalo Bill, before Dr. Chilton and some guards arrive to remove Starling from the building. Some time later, Lecter murders the guards watching over him. He tears off one of their faces and uses it to disguise himself, before escaping into the night.

Starling studies Lecter's notes on Bill, and discovers that he had an intimate relationship with his first victim. She travels to the woman's hometown, where she discovers that Buffalo Bill was a dressmaker, and that his own designs are identical to the areas of flayed flesh on the corpses of his victims. She attempts to get in touch with Crawford, who reveals that Bill is a man named Jame Gumb, who applied for a sex change operation, only to be rejected. Starling questions the friends of Bill's first victim in Ohio, while Crawford and some of his men arrive at Gumb's address in Illinois. They discover it unoccupied, while Starling is led to the home of a man named Jack Gordon in Ohio.

She soon discovers he is actually Gumb when she notices an identical moth fluttering around the room; Gumb had murdered the woman who owned the home. Starling attempts to apprehend him, but he flees down into the basement, which is revealed to be a labyrinth of rooms. While searching for Gumb in the basement, Starling discovers Catherine alive at the bottom of a dried up well. Gumb knocks out the basement lights, before stalking Starling through the darkness by use of some night-vision goggles. As he prepares to kill her, Starling is alerted by the cocking of Gumb's pistol. Starling turns and kills him, unloading her own pistol into him.

Some time later, while attending a graduation celebration, Starling gets a phone call from Lecter, who is revealed to be hiding in Birmini. Lecter assures Starling he has no plans to pursue her, having grown too fond of her to murder her. He asks her to not come searching for him, which she states she is unable to do. He hangs up the phone, revealing he is having someone over for dinner, before following a newly arrived Chilton into a crowd of people.

Cast

  • Michael Fassbender as Hannibal Lecter
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Clarice Starling
  • Talitha Bateman as young Clarice
  • Kevin Spacey as Jack Crawford
  • Paul Dano as Jame Gumb
  • Michael Kelly as Dr. Frederick Chilton
  • Eliza Scanlen as Catherine Martin
  • Patricia Clarkson as U.S. Senator Ruth Martin
  • Tessa Thompson as Ardelia Mapp
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Barney Matthews
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