Discs Are Rated
The Silence Of The Lambs
review by Zach B.
The Criterion Collection
Running Time: 118 minutes
Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn,
Screenplay by Ted Tally
Based on the book by Thomas Harris
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Retail Price: $39.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Director Jonathon
Demme, Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Screenwrtier Ted Tally
and FBI Agent John Douglas, Deleted Scenes, Storyboards,
Film-To-Storyboard Comparison, FBI Crime Classification
Manual, Voices Of Death
Specs: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, English
Stereo, Chapter Search (28 Chapters)
Insert Your Favorite Hannibal Quote Here
There is so much to "The Silence Of The Lambs", I have no
clue where to begin. But I suppose I'll start with the
basics. This movie is a big fan favorite, but upon the
original release it garnered critical acclaim and big box
office. The movie ended up winning five Academy Awards®,
those five being "the big five" as people have called it. It
won for direction, Best Actress for Jodie Foster, Best Actor
for Anthony Hopkins, Best Screenplay Adaption and of course,
Best Picture. But beyond all that, it's a movie that has
fitted its way into pop culture and is instantly
recognizable. It's a rare kind of piece where all the right
notes come together to make a beautiful song. Let's take a
look inside this film, shall we?
For those unfamiliar with the film, "The Silence Of The
Lambs" is the film adapation of Thomas Harris' novel of the
same name. The story follows Clarice Starling, an agent sent
by the FBI to investigate a serial killer known as Buffalo
Bill, who's trademark is keeping pieces of the skin from the
women he kills. She is first sent to Dr. Hannibal "The
Cannibal" Lecter, a mad former psychaitrist who is locked up
who does hold clues to the case. Starling is warned to be
careful of him, but as the film goes on, he manipulates her
to get what he wants while Starling tries to pinpoint the
information Hannibal halls. The two make an unlikely match
but this make for an intriguing, disturbing and incredible
fascinating thriller complete with character studies that
boggle the mind. There's a lot of great FBI stuff in this
movie as well as an interesting portrait of serial killers
and their psyche.
A reason "The Silence Of The Lambs" works so well is
because of the actors. Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, who
I mentioned both won statues from the Academy for their work
here, have such great chemistry. Foster is perfect and raw
as the vulnerable Starling, but her delivery and character
is strong. She makes her really believable. Still, Anthony
Hopkins takes the cake as Hannibal Lecter creating one of
the most memorable characters to grace the screen. While
it's true Brian Cox originated the characters five years
earlier in "Manhunter", when people think of Hannibal, they
think Hopkins. It's obvious that some of Cox's performance
is in Hopkin's performance, there is that sort of influence
and you experience it. Hopkins is chilling and amazing as
Lecter, his performance will thrill your spine. He's creepy,
he's brilliant and he's disturbing. Truly a great
performance, everything out of his mouth amazes me. The way
he does it... there is so much passion and so much creepy
energy in him. This is one of my favorite performances of
all time in film, actually. Words can't describe what
Hopkins brings to this movie... you just have to watch it
and then you'll understand. The chemistry between the two is
also vital to this movie. They play off one another really
well. The supporting and much smaller performances are
great. As far as I'm concerned, the acting in this movie is
perfect and gets everything across nicely. My only complaint
is that there could have been more Hopkins, and it has been
argued his role was more supporting. But hey, as I've
mentioned before, the Academy is crazy.
Jonathan Demme directed this movie and won an Oscar®
for his work, and he really creates something magnicificent.
The way he moves the camera and sets the story up is great.
He tells it in a lean way without being flashy, and lets the
viewers use their instincts and feelings to search through
the script and meaning of the film then showing us.
Sometimes he doesn't show things visually, but through the
words of the characters we can clearly see the powerful
images. This is quite an accomplishment if you ask me. He
really tells this story with much power, quite thrilling
moments and develops things well. An Oscar® well
The editing in this movie is fantastic, and while
nominated for an Academy Award®, it did not win it. This
is one of the best edited movies I've ever seen, so to me
that loss is a bit disappointing. The way shots are conveyed
and set up are magnicificent. It adds to more of an eerie
feel to everything, it's layered really nicely. Howard
Shore's score is memorable, and really adds a lot to key
scenes. I felt he was robbed of an Oscar® nod. Ted Tally
also cooks up a terrific adaption of the book by Thomas
Harris, complete with great dialogue and a nice structure to
everything. He taps right into the book and jusices out a
ton of it. A job well done there.
"The Silence Of The Lambs" is a true film classic and
after all these years, I still find it bold and refreshing.
It really holds the test of time. Whenever I see it, I
always enjoy it and I find something new and exciting within
the context. The acting is great, the direction is solid and
the adaption from Ted Tally is pretty amazing. This is a
one-of-a-kind film, where everything just comes together so
perfectly. This movie is really memorable and will entertain
audiences for years to come. If you haven't seen it, take
out the fava beans and chianti and enjoy.
Criterion has provided a 1.85:1 non-anamorphic transfer
to "The Silence Of The Lambs" and it is pretty good. The
image is a bit soft at times, but it can be quite sharp at
times. Blemishes and dirt pop up throughout the movie, but
colors and fleshtones are really well saturated. There is
some grain in the image too. Black are solid and detail is
generally good. Overall, it looks good for what it is and
you won't be too disappointed.
"The Silence Of The Lambs" has a English stereo track
that is decent, at best. Dialogue is clear and not really
muffled, while other sounds are pretty good and are crisp.
Nothing really overlaps. There is really nothing much to say
about this track, it's just a little bit above average.
There are no closed captions or subtitles.
Criterion has delivered a terrific set of supplements,
mostly from the 1994 laserdisc edition. An Audio
Commentary with Director Jonathon Demme, Jodie Foster,
Anthony Hopkins, Screenwrtier Ted Tally and FBI Agent John
Douglas is included, and while editied, it's one
incredible track. Everyone is introduced as they talk and
there is a really nice flow to this commentary. Comments are
really insightful and have a lot of good stories in them,
plus a good amount of background on characters, the movie
and a whole lot of stuff. There's a lot to gain here, and is
one of the best commentaries I've heard on DVD. There are no
real gaps of silence, and fans of the film must listen to
this. There is a ton of amazing things to gain out of this
track. The commentary is also chapter encoded.
There are Seven Deleted Scenes that are in
non-anamorphic widescreen and a bit rough. Each scene has a
little written statement when you highlight them saying
where they should go and what they involve. They don't
really add a lot to the film, but they are still cool to
The Storyboards section has storyboards of the
following scenes to browse through: "Split Ciy storage
units", "Buffalo Bill's basement", "The autopsy", "Searching
for Dr. Lecter", "Snapshot from hell", "Clarice finds her
man" and conceptual drawings for "Snapshot from hell".
There's also a nifty Film-To-Storyboard Comparison to
Two supplements that add more background to the movie: a
FBI Crime Classification Manual that provides a lot
of in-depth things about handling crimes in an FBI manner.
This is written out and a good read. There's also Voices
Of Death where serial killers, as chronicled in Michael
Newton's book, alk about murder, sex, life and death.
Fascinating and another good read.
Sadly, this disc is now out of print since there is an
MGM version coming out in the near future. It's sure to be a
collector's item on DVD. While the presentation is not
perfect, the supplements are really in-depth and compliment
to the film well. Good luck getting it, and if you do or
have it, enjoy!
(4.5/5 - NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)