Silence of the Lambs, The (Blu-ray)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine
Directed by Jonathan Demme
“You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia. What is your father, dear? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys found you … all those tedious sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars … while you could only dream of getting out … getting anywhere … getting all the way to the FBI.” — Hannibal Lecter to Clarice Starling
Chilling. That’s the only way to describe the eerie restraint shown by Anthony Hopkins’ performance of the evil and hungry Dr. Hannibal Lecter. One second the character can be dissecting your personality, and the next he could be dissecting your person. Though his role is relatively small there’s no mistaking that the weight of The Silence of the Lambs falls squarely upon his sturdy shoulders.
I could sit here and explain to you why this movie is a modern classic, but what’s the point? I’m guessing that by now you’ve surely seen this epic flick, and know it very well. If not, click the bottom link to pre-order, head to the store to buy, borrow from a friend, do whatever you have to do it get your hands on it like yesterday. You won’t be disappointed.
The subject of the day is this new Blu-ray release so let’s dig right into the 1080p goodness, shall we?
I’ve seen The Silence of the Lambs several times. Probably as many as ten to fifteen. I can honestly say this is (as I’m sure you expected) the best looking version of the film I’ve ever watched, though it’s still far from perfect. The main differences come in the form of depth, a slight upgrade in sharpness, and a wonderfully warm color palette. Previously released editions, Criterion and otherwise, had a weird kind of greenish tint to them. This problem has been completely fixed with this release and while there is still the occasional pop or scratch in the print every so often, everything still looks damned fine.
The audio however is just passable. Yes, this is the first time MGM has ever given the movie a hi-def audio mix, but it still kind of misses the mark. There are moments when the 5.1 track soars and swells but they are unfortunately bookended with plenty of flat moments. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s really not much of an improvement.
Then there are the supplemental materials. While quite good, we’ve seen the majority of them all before. There’s nearly two-hours worth of behind-the-scenes featurettes, a thirty second phone message from Hopkins as Lecter, and twenty-three minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes. All pre-existing, and of various sound and picture quality. One feature that’s been missing since the Laser Disc release is the awesome commentary track with Jonathan Demme, Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Really, guys? We couldn’t dig this one up for the Blu-ray release?
So, I know what you’re wondering — is there anything new? Yes! One thing — the Breaking the Silence Blu-ray exclusive trivia track which sports itself new interviews with Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Anthony Heald, Scott Glenn, and screenwriter Ted Tally. Throughout the film, via picture-in-picture pop-up, you’ll get an occasional nugget of info from one of the aforementioned subjects. It’s nice to see and hear something new, but there’s just one nagging problem — these pop-up instances were a little too sporadic for my liking. There were long stretches of time when we’d get nothing but the movie. Since so much of this Blu-ray consists of repackaged material couldn’t the slow parts have been filled with some pre-existing behind-the-scenes footage? I know. I know. I’m never happy.
If you’ve never owned The Silence of the Lambs on home video (and given the flick’s popularity and multiple releases that’s kind of a tall order), then this is without question the version of the film for you. If you’ve still got the Criterion DVD or — dare I say it — the Laser Disc … honestly? You’re still sitting kind of pretty.
5 out of 5
4 out of 5
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