Friday, 4 September 2015

"He's past the others, the last cell. You keep to the right. I put out a chair for you."

This moment in Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs, just before FBI trainee Clarisse Starling meets Hannibal Lecter for the first time, stood out to me as perhaps its defining image. It's that perverse sense of normality that lingers throughout this movie: the idea that a violent murderer could be somebody's neighbour; that even the most twisted people can blend into a crowd; and that an act of kindness as simple as providing a small fold-up chair can give a psychopath an audience.

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