The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 21, 2011  | 
DVD
Fox | Region B | 1.85:1, 1080p | English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 | 118 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine
Screenplay: Ted Tally
Country: USA
External Links
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It is easy to throw the word 'classic' around when describing films, but how many 'classic' films can you name since 1990? Not many really, especially in the horror genre. Before that date, horror movies that could be described thusly were far more abundant, but post 1990 they are not so easy to find.

One post 1990 horror/thriller that can have the 'Classic' stamp pounded onto its forehead is 1991's The Silence of the Lambs. This film was directed by Jonathon Demme, from a Ted Tally screenplay, which in itself was based on a novel by Thomas Harris. This film features the surprise coupling of Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, whose on-screen chemistry is one of the screens greats.

When FBI agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) finds himself at a complete halt in his current case he enlists novice agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) to interview imprisoned serial killer and cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). The bureau believes Lecter, formerly a well-respected psychiatrist, may be able to assist with its pursuit of serial murderer 'Buffalo Bill' (Ted Levine), though Starling soon finds herself forming a strange bond with the imprisoned Lecter who, in exchange for cryptic information on the case, forces her to reveal intimate details of her personal life, which he dissects and uses to both psychologically torture her. and give her an opportunity for reflection.

Many people claim that Hopkin's performance in this film comes nowhere near matching Brian Cox's performance of the same role in 1986's Manhunter, which is based on the Thomas Harris prequel Red Dragon. Quite simply, those people are wrong. Hopkins' role in this is a career defining one, whereas Cox's was… well basically forgettable.

That is not to take anything away from Jodie Foster's role either. Her character is likable and feminine, but still a tough character, able to face her fears, and those who are fearsome. I must admit to really being only aware of Foster's role in Freaky Friday before I saw her in this, but she made me an immediate fan.

Special mention must go to Ted Levine for his role as Buffalo Bill. Playing a realistic serial killer, who is not based on an actual serial killer is hard enough, but some of the things Levine was called upon to do in this film go far beyond anything that most graduates of acting college could imagine.

By the way, any film that lists genre legends Tracy Walter (oddball actor from Conan the Destroyer), Roger Corman (legendary horror producer who directed Frankenstein Unbound) and Charles Napier (Russ Meyer regular, including Supervixens) on the same screen is doing something for the genre fans!!
Video
The Silence of the Lambs is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is so sharp it could cut you like a butcher's knife.
Audio
This film is an audio feast and is presented in Dolby Digital DTS HD 5.1. Howard Shore's score is a particular highlight, though it is played over and over on the menu screen and perhaps becomes slightly tiresome out of context.
Extra Features
There is a real nice bag of extras on this disc. In a section called 'Documentaries', we have: 'Breaking the Silence' which is a picture in picture and 'pop-up' fact track that plays while the film is on. This is interesting from both a film-making aspect and a real-life crime and investigation point of view with many involved in the films production getting at least their 2 cents worth, though I must admit it was occasionally infrequent.

Understanding the Madness is an interesting piece about actual serial killer profiling with interviews with actual ex-FBI agents.

Inside the Labyrinth: Understanding Silence of the Lambs is a wonderful retrospective look at the film, its cast and its origins.

The Silence of the Lambs: From Page to Screen looks at the adaptation of the book in of a TV show called 'Page to Screen', hosted by actor Peter Gallagher.

Scoring the Silence is a rare but cool look at the soundtrack of the film, and features Composer Howard Shore discussing his processes.

Also we have the original 1991 'Making of ' featurette which is probably the weakest of these docos, but still interesting nonetheless.

This disc also has a series of deleted scenes, a small set of outtakes, a series of TV Spots and trailers and an amusing 'phone message' from Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal Lector.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
I loved this film when I saw it on my first date with my wife at the cinema in the early nineties, I loved in on video, I loved it on DVD, and guess what? I still dig it now that its on Blu-ray! This film is a multiple Academy Award winner and regularly features on 'Top Ten', 'Twenty' or 'Fifty' list for best horror films, and with just cause. It belongs in everyone's film collection! If anyone claims to not like this film, don't worry, you will no doubt soon be issued with your official "I Am A Fuckwit" T-shirt from Twentieth Century Fox.

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