Classic Cinema

Book Review: Silence of the Lambs (BFI Film Classics)

BFI Film Classics - Silence of the Lambs (October 07)

Publisher: British Film Institute 

Release Date: July 25, 2019 (First Edition) / October 7, 2021 (Second Edition)

Yvonne Tasker’s book examines “one of the defining films of late twentieth century American cinema” in this very short booklet. There’s no question that Silence of the Lambs is one of the best police procedurals ever made, and this book is really the only book available that attempts to examine the film. Those expecting a proper account of the production (or a standard “making of” text) will almost certainly be disappointed, but Tasker does offer an exploration of the film’s content that is likely to add to one’s appreciation of Jonathan Demme’s masterpiece as it discusses “explores the film’s weaving together of gothic, horror and thriller elements in its portrayal of insanity and crime, drawing out the centrality of ideas about gender to the storytelling. She identifies the film as a key genre reference point for tracking late twentieth century interests in police procedural, profiling and serial murder, analyzing its key themes of reason and madness, identity and belonging, aspiration and transformation.” One doubts if the book will hold much value to casual fans of the film, but die-hards will enjoy the read if they keep their expectations in check.

Silence of the Lambs - Hannibal