Silence of the Lambs breakdown, part 3
Act II, part 2
Silence of the Lambs, ACT TWO, PART 2
Now at the beginning of Act II: Part 2, in a massive, game-changing TWIST, ambitious Dr. Chilton derails the FBI plan—and Lecter embarks on a counter PLAN of his own.
(In fact, you could say that this twist is a third punch of the MIDPOINT, but it feels like a new sequence to me. It doesn’t really matter which sequence you put it in! When you break down movies, do what makes sense to you.
Now the Act II:2 DOWNWARD SPIRAL begins.
59:32 Dr. Chilton has Lecter bound in his cell (in a straightjacket, upright metal dolly, and a wire mask, giving him the appearance of a movie monster) while he taunts Lecter that there never was a deal, that the FBI scammed him. Lecter is obviously in a fury, but he’s also completely focused on the gold pen that Chilton seems almost to be giving head to as he gloats (PLANT). Remember that on first meeting Chilton warned Clarice not to bring any objects into the ward.... (SET UP)
Chilton tells Lecter he’s spoken with Senator Martin and arranged a real offer: Lecter will get his transfer, to Brushy Mountain Penitentiary in Tennessee, in exchange for Buffalo Bill’s name. (SECONDARY OPPONENT’S PLAN). Lecter counters that he will only tell Senator Martin in Tennessee, in person, and he has conditions of his own. Note that the close ups on Chilton’s face and the hockey mask emphasize mouths, and of course Lecter is a cannibal who savages people by biting them (VISUAL IMAGE SYSTEM).
In a brief phone conversation, the FBI DIRECTOR tells Crawford that he’s off the case—Senator Martin is furious about the phony offer. The FORCES OF ANTAGONISM at work. (The Director is played by iconic B-movie director/producer Roger Corman—yes, directors love to cast other directors in cameo roles!)
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