Viewed – 12 April 2013 Blu-ray
Always nice to revisit a classic, especially on Blu-ray. I have long loved this Oscar-winning thriller, that for me is still the finest serial killer movie ever made (with Seven being a close second). Sitting down to this last night it wasn’t hard to see why it gained such acclaim. The performances are perfect, with a vulnerable but tough Jodie Foster, near unrecognizable in a black hair dye-job (or wig?). Mentored by Scott Glen’s equally well cast Jack Crawford. Yet the big selling point for me, and what has gone on to define a career is Anthony Hopkins’ amazingly creepy but charismatic turn as Dr Hannibal Lecter – one of the greatest creations in movie villain history.
Foster plays FBI agent Clarice Starling, given the task of interviewing imprisoned serial killer and former psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter as the FBI attempt to track down currently at large killer Buffalo Bill. This is a movie that is just as much character study as it is a thriller, with exceptional performances across the board (with a very unnerving Ted Levine as Bill – ‘it puts the lotion in the basket’), and very well observed and realistic direction from Jonathan Demme. Silence of the Lambs has become the blue-print for all serial killer movies from Seven, to Copycat and even has echoes in current TV series The Following, that for me it just can’t be faulted. Yes over the years it has been satirized which I think is a shame, because on its original release this hit viewers hard, and in my opinion still should.
The Blu-ray isn’t quite as impressive. The picture, whilst acceptable and with moments of good detail, seems overly soft. The sound in 5.1 DTS Master Audio is decent and punchy however with good crisp dialogue, which is very important in this particular movie. Extras are mostly carry-overs from the previous DVD editions, but remain extensive with several documentaries and featurettes, trailers, deleted scenes and outtakes. The only exclusive to this HD release is a feature-length bonus called ‘breaking the silence’ that has the movie playing as interviews with the cast and film makers pop up as well as interesting bits of trivia. An audio commentary would have been nice but is sadly absent.
(the movie) 5 /5
(the Blu-ray) 3.5 /5
- The Silence of the Lambs (Review) (monstersunderthebedgroup1.wordpress.com)
- Hannibal Series Preview: Who’s the Smartest Man in the Room? (dreadcentral.com)
- The Silence of the Lambs (mayoung1127.wordpress.com)
- Hannibal – Not Your Mom’s Hannibal Lecter (televisionwithoutpity.com)
Viewed – 22 March 2009 Cinema
Director Jonathan Demme returns to the directing chair after a brief hiatus since his last film The Manchurian Candidate in 2004. Although not overly familiar with his work, I must admit that his adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs is in my opinion one of the finest serial killer thrillers ever made. This time we’re on smaller turf with this very raw portrait of a young woman, Kym (Anne Hathaway) returning to the family home on the eve of her sister’s wedding, having just come out of rehab. Hathaway breaks free from the squeaky clean image she played so well in films like The Princess Diaries & The Devil Wears Prada, and is immediately intriguing as someone with more than a few problems. Faced with the prospect of seeing her family again and how her past actions may have altered their perception of her, Kym struggles to ‘play along’ with the occasion despite everything.
This gritty film feels like we’re eves dropping on a family occasion with its fly-on-the-wall approach and jump-cut camera work reminiscent of Mike Leigh. Demme is obviously going for the less Hollywood-ised approach here, and it works well, pulling you into events whilst never loosing the realism. Hathaway is wonderful, well supported by a good cast, all of which you completely believe, especially Rosemary Dewitt as Rachel, and a near-unrecognisable Debra Winger.
Although the film does explore some of the darker aspects of Kym’s life and her actions in the past, I felt it was played a bit safe at times, seeming to only really come alive late on in the film, and the focus on the rather unconventional wedding arrangements came across heavy handed and annoying, when I would have preferred to discover more about this troubled character. Still, this is well acted and absorbing, with a career best so far from Anne Hathaway that marks her out as an actress to watch.
Verdict: 3 /5