The Silence of the Lambs is easily one of my favorite movies of all-time (top 10) and is probably The Godfather of the suspense-thriller genre with incredible performances from Foster, Hopkins and Levine and an all-around great experience that has held up incredibly well over the years.
The Silence of the Lambs
– The Criterion Collection –
Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Crime, Drama
The Criterion Collection | R – 118 min. – $39.95 | February 13, 2018
Date Published: 02/07/2018 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 5.0/5
Here’s a news flash, The Silence of the Lambs is one f’ing amazing movie. I realize I’m on an island alone on this opinion, but hey, got to be honest. In all seriousness, I’ve probably seen this movie 3 or 4 times over the years and each viewing is as thrilling as the next; it’s downright a perfect movie on all fronts.
For those living under a rock, the plot follows F.B.I. trainee Clarice Starling (JODIE FOSTER) is given the assignment by her boss, Jack Crawford (SCOTT GLENN), to interview notorious, and refined, serial killer Hannibal Lecter (ANTHONY HOPKINS), hoping to probe his brain to get clues to the identity of one Buffalo Bill (TED LEVINE) who has been kidnapping and killing women with no signs of slowing down. It’s a race against time when Buffalo Bill kidnaps the daughter of a power U.S. Senator; add to that a subplot with Lecter utilizing every card he has, with his knowledge of the killer’s identity.
I think one of the reasons Lambs has stood out from other thrillers is that it’s less about shocking or disgusting audiences, and sure there are a few standout moments that can shock and disgust or about unraveling the mystery, and there are mystery elements for sure, but it’s at its core a character study: the innocent and green FBI agent, the mentally superior and controlled serial killer or the deranged and psychologically damaged killer, and each respective actor from Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins and Ted Levine were each pitch perfect, with Foster and Hopkins taking home the Academy Award.
Beyond the well defined trio of central characters, the film just works as a pure thriller including a tense finale that, even though I’ve seen it a few times now, still is absolutely gripping and ultimately satisfying. Credit goes to the source material by Thomas Harris, fittingly adapted by Ted Tally and helmed by Jonathan Demme, both taking home Oscars, as did the film itself.
I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic saying The Silence of the Lambs perhaps is The Godfather of the suspense-thriller genre. This isn’t just one of my favorite movies of all time, but one of the best with top-notch performances all around, although I know some prefer Brian Cox’s understated role in Manhunter as Lecter (or Lektor), amazing cinematography and just a tightly-wound, pitch-perfect story.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
|This two-disc release comes housed in a fold-out digipak where the two discs overlap one another (hate that kind of packaging personally) which tucks inside a semi-sturdy outer-case. Also inside is a nice 52-page booklet with pictures and essays, as well as a new introduction by Jodie Foster.
Deleted Scenes (37:58; HD) – Here we get 22 scenes that were either cut down or removed and might not be in the best condition, but nice to get them here. Included is the outtakes reel and Anthony Hopkins’s phone message.
Maitland McDonagh (17:58; HD) – In this new interview, the film critic explores the cultural fascination with serial killers and The Silence of the Lambs.
Trailer (1:49; HD)
The Making of The Silence of the Lambs: Inside the Labyrinth (1:06:25; SD) – This 2001 documentary has interviews with Demme, Foster, Hopkins, Levine, Tally, production designer Kristi Zea, producer Ron Bozman, costume designer Colleen Atwood and Roger Corman, amongst others. This one is a bit more extensive than the previous given the number of participants.
Page to Screen (41:07; SD) is a 2002 episode, hosted by Peter Gallagher, from the Bravo TV show with the film’s cast and crew discussing the source material and the production.
Scoring “The Silence” (16:00; SD) – This 2004 interview with composer Howard Shore where he discusses the themes he utilized.
Understanding the Madness (19:33; SD) is some more interviews, this time with retired FBI agents as they talk about profiling serial killers.
Behind-the-Scenes Featurette (8:07; SD) is rather basic and was made around 1991.
Last up are some Storyboards (4:11; SD).
Missing are some TV Spots and the Teaser Trailer.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|The Silence of the Lambs gets a much needed update as the film was scanned in 16-bit 4K resolution, shown here in 1080p high-definition, and absolutely looks brilliant with fantastic detail, incredible sharpness, stark black levels and colors appear on point, bright but still in keeping with the tone set by Demme and his director of photography Tak Fujimoto, who supervised this transfer.|
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|The disc includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track which was remastered from the 35mm magnetic track and hisses, hums, clicks and other flaws were removed. This is a nice sounding soundtrack coming to life with Howard Shore’s haunting score as well as clean dialogue levels. Also included is a 5.1 DTS-HD MA option that presumably is the same from the MGM release and it’s more than adequate.|
OVERALL – 4.75/5
Overall, The Silence of the Lambs is easily one of my favorite movies of all-time (top 10) and is probably The Godfather of the suspense-thriller genre with incredible performances from Foster, Hopkins and Levine and an all-around great experience that has held up incredibly well over the years. The Blu-ray release from The Criterion Collection offers outstanding video and audio transfers and an excellent array of bonus features.