Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins will likely be forever associated with their roles in this bone-chilling masterpiece, based on the novel by Thomas Harris and directed by Jonathan Demme. FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Foster) is sent by her supervisor (Scott Glenn) to interview ferociously intelligent serial killer Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lechter (Hopkins) at his cell in a Maryland mental hospital. The FBI hopes Lechter can provide insight into the mind of killer-at-large, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), whose current abductee happens to be the daughter of a senator. Intrigued by Clairice, Lechter demands information about her personal life and in exchange for clues, and the two begin to form a strangely intimate connection, with a girl's life hanging in the balance. Starling is gradually revealed as a woman struggling out of her own darkness, bound to aid the dysfunctional males around her on their own paths of transformation, liberation, and destruction. This is a film of brilliant and disturbing beauty that transcends its B-movie origins (though it does honor them with a cameo appearance by Roger Corman). Its enduring influence has led to a slew of similarly dark-toned serial killer films, and a sequel, HANNIBAL (2001).
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