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The Silence of the Lambs took the Academy Awards by storm in 1992 winning all five major categories direction screenplay acting and Best Motion Picture beating the odds in more ways than one Dark psychological thrillers rarely win Best Picture the last occasion was back in 1940 Hitchcocks Rebecca The film had been released early in 1991 a date thought to be beyond the traditionally short memories of most Academy members Why this happened is not hard to explain on a more detailed inspection The film embodies the ultimate in its genre The dark imagery and intense mind play once seen makes it very hard to forget In fact it wasnt just Academy voters that were affected by the film it became a major worldwide success grossing over 270 million spawned an even more financially successful sequel and even inspired a prequel making a major star of Anthony Hopkins and turned his alter ego Hannibal Lecter into a cultural icon The key element of the film is its ability to keep us in suspense throughout its two hours running time The film effectively grabs and holds our attention within the first fifteen minutes during three key sequences in which all four main protagonists are introduced The first key scene introduces us to FBI trainee Clarice Starling Jodie Foster As the credits role Howard Shores powerfully portentous music plays as a small pretty figure dressed in a grey jogging suit tackles an FBI training academy obstacle course Clarice looks vulnerable yet determined as she climbs up a rope This establishes a perfect metaphor for the personal journey and ordeal she will soon be embarking upon As Clarice jogs through the woods she passes a tree that has five signs nailed upon it Hurt Agony Pain Love-it and the last faded sign faded in the elements Or-die The last sign is indistinct a metaphor that to the FBI this last statement is
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