The Fear of God: The Silence of the Lambs

30 May

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs.

3 Responses to “The Fear of God: The Silence of the Lambs”

  1. Leonca June 3, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    I probably saw this when I was around 15 or 16 and haven’t seen it since. I don’t remember much except for the escape scene, and thinking that Lector’s voice was very unique.

    I also saw the sequel and remember hearing that in the book version it ends with Clarice becoming obsessed with Lector and choosing to be with him. If that is accurate, I wonder what it says about the feminist themes of the story.

    • Reed June 5, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

      I can confirm (without specifics) that you’re correct about the ending of the sequel and of Starling’s character. They went a different direction for the movie, but that didn’t help much.

      It felt like Thomas Harris was trying for something no one would ever believe he could pull off, and — for me, at least — he only served to prove that he couldn’t pull it off.

  2. FictionIsntReal July 1, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

    I’m replying rather late, but you did invite replies.

    I’m glad Ridley Scott (like Jodie Foster, who chose not to return to her role) refused to use the book’s ending. It’s still not a very good movie, but at least it’s not a godawful betrayal of the character.

    I’m an atheist who listens to the show anyway because I like movies (particularly horror movies), and hearing someone else interpret them through their own different perspective can be interesting. So I suppose it’s somewhat ironic that the more I listened to Nathan talk about Pence’s observance of a rule for living from Billy Graham, the more incensed I got at Nathan. Nathan called it “oppression”, “horror”, and “sin”. I would call it weird, but none of those other things. A person in Pence’s position is going to have flunkies, so it’s not an insurmountable burden to have a third party present, and however weird any woman subjected to the rule might feel, no real harm is done. There are certain situations in which people might want to have private conversations, but I wouldn’t expect that to be common for him.

    In other situations, the lack of privacy forces people to behave in a manner they’d be comfortable with others hearing about, which I imagine is part of the appeal of such a rule. Nathan makes a big deal of distinguishing between “protecting yourself” vs “protecting your reputation”, but I don’t see why a great distinction needs to be made. It’s protective either way. If you’ll forgive me waxing a bit political/polemical, Donald Trump would not follow such a rule because he’s a scumbag who doesn’t behave in a respectable manner and constantly lies about his actions.

    One of the reasons I’m more understanding of this rule (even if I find it weird), is that I see the value of “ecological rationality”. Our decision-making skills are imperfect and we can be inconsistent depending on circumstances. Arranging the situations we are in to ensure we make the best decisions is actually common for many occupations. When Nathan responds by treating that as a pathology and saying “Get therapy”, my instinctive response is the caption which fits every comic in the New Yorker. It’s not even a strictly personal issue, since it’s an agreement he has with his wife about how each of them behaves. Let other people conduct their marriages in ways that suit them rather than castigating them for something which doesn’t really cause harm.

    Oddly enough, Christ himself added a far more extreme version of “ecological rationality”. He said that if your eye results in you sinning, pluck it out, likewise chop off a hand that sins. He summarized his own approach as not abolishing the law but fulfilling it, insisting that those who did not strictly adhere to every letter would not enter the kingdom of heaven. His own demands on people were even stricter than the commandments, encompassing not only external actions but the internal motivation behind such actions (I think his standards are unworkable for human beings, but as noted I’m an atheist). The conception of Jesus as being opposed to rigid rules strikes me as based on nothing.

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