Criminology prof ridicules Anthony Hopkins’ performance in The Silence of the Lambs
A criminology professor has ridiculed the performance of Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs.
The renowned Welsh actor earned an Oscar for his portrayal of the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in the 1991 crime thriller.
However according to eminent criminologist David Wilson, in the film’s most famous scene he was “pantomimic”.
The Professor Emeritus of Criminology at Birmingham City University criticised the part in which the psychopath tells Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee played by Jodie Foster, about eating someone’s liver with “some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
In a review of serial killers in movies and TV for Vanity Fair, Professor Wilson said: “I’ve never encountered a serial killer who would behave quite so much in that pantomimic way. I have encountered serial killers who have tried to scare me.
“But I wouldn’t be scared by Anthony Hopkins. I’d have laughed frankly if he’d told me about fava beans and a nice chianti.”
However, Professor Wilson was not universally negative about the performance. He praised the part of the film in which Lecter asks Clarice Starling for her FBI credentials.
He said: “Hannibal Lecter does something which is very true to life in my experience. When I’m interviewing murderers, they’re only prepared to talk to me once they’ve got my CV.
“They love knowing that they’re being interviewed by the ‘top bloke’.”
The professor also remarked on the part of the film where Lecter tells Starling: “You use Evian skin cream, and sometimes you wear L’Air du Temps, …but not today”.
Professor Wilson said: “I’ve never had a serial killer mention my aftershave, but that seducing behaviour is something that I have to manage on a regular basis.
“So, for example I had to speak on the telephone to an infamous serial killer who’s in jail. He was sometimes known as the bikini killer or the serpent.
“He said: ‘You look much younger than your 64 years’.
“It was the very first thing he said. It just shouted out as psychopathy.”