The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1991
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time:118 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Jody Foster, Scott Glen, Ted Levine
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Music by: Howard Shore
Written by: Ted Tally
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 3, 2009
"To enter the mind of a killer she must challenge the mind of a madman"
A psychopath nicknamed Buffalo Bill is murdering young women across the Midwest. Believing it takes one to know one, the FBI sends Agent Clarice Starling (Foster) to interview a demented prisoner who may provide clues to the killer's actions. That prisoner is psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), a brilliant, diabolical cannibal who agrees to help Starling only if she'll feed his morbid curiosity with details about her own complicated life. As their relationship develops, Starling is forced to confront not only her own hidden demons but also an evil so powerful that she may not have the courage - or strength - to stop it!
I would sincerely hope that by now most who are reading this are familiar with and have seen The silence of the lambs so I won't go into any commentary about what this great film is about. Suffice it to say this movie has given us one of the most unforgettable and sinister characters ever put on celluloid. The great Anthony Hopkins portrayed author Thomas Harris' cannibalistic Dr. Hannibal Lecter with menacing precision that garnered him an Academy Award and is surely responsible for the nightmares of many. Jodie Foster's transition from child star to Hollywood royalty was capped by her portrayal of FBI trainee Clarice Starling which won her a second Academy Award. What truly makes this film work is the superb chemistry between Foster and Hopkins. It is truly captivating to watch them together onscreen. Director Jonathan Demme uses tight camera work and extreme close ups which helps to draw you into these two characters as the actors skillfully interact. A great example of this is when Clarice visits Dr. Lecter while he is in the large cage in Memphis. As Clarice opens up about the screaming lambs I just love the extreme close ups that allow us to look right into their eyes. It just works perfectly. The film is cleverly crafted so that everything done seems to have rightful purpose both in setting and spoken word.
The rating is for thematic material, partial nudity, language, and violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Silence of the lambs comes to Blu-ray from Fox featuring 1080p MPEG-2 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 19 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.5 mbps.
I saw this film theatrically and have owned it on DVD for a number of years now. This high definition video presentation preserves quite a bit of its fine but noticeable grain, naturally rendered colors, and lifelike skin tones. It is apparent that some noise reduction has been selectively applied which diminishes the presence of grain during some scenes. The effects aren't excessive however purists will find it objectionable. It has never been a very vibrant looking film and that remains the case here. I will say that colors are a little deeper which enhanced things like the alluring blue of Jody Foster's eyes. The higher resolution brought out more detail which gave the image improved depth. I could easily make out subtle delineation in the faces, clothing and hair of the cast. Long range visuals lack the definitive articulation of today's newer films that come to Blu-ray but dimension is improved over the DVD. Blacks are stable and fairly deep which adds pop to scenes containing mixed onscreen content. An example of this can be seen in the wide angle shot that looks down on Washington DC at night. The deep shadows of Buffalo Bill's basement and the confines of the pit where Catherine is held were revealing of plenty of detail in the uneven lighting and low lit backgrounds. I also noticed some minor edge enhancement and low level digital here and there but neither was infringed upon fidelity. I cant help but hope for a future release with a new video encoding that completely preserves the film's original elements without the use of artificial enhancement. In the meantime this is the best that I have seen The silence of the lambs look on home video, so for now Ill take it.
The DTS-HD MA audio presentation did a fine job with the handling of dialogue as it was crystal clear with sibilant free quality, and appreciable tonal divergence throughout. I never had any problem discerning spoken words and the high level of clarity even made subtle inflections audible. Howard Shore's music score was reproduced via the front three channels with the surrounds adding mild ambience. There was no deep bass associated with the mix but I did notice an occasional rumble from my subwoofer. Dynamics weren't overpowering however the audio had ample weight when called for. This is essentially a dialogue driven film but it benefited from the subtle use of the surround channels to enhance atmospheric presence. The higher resolution of the audio allowed the fidelity inherent in the soundtrack to shine through. I thought it sounded great.
- Breaking the silence - PiP BonusView feature - Interviews and trivia
- (HD) Understanding the madness - Documentary
- Inside the labyrinth: The making of the Silence of the lambs - Documentary - 66 minutes
- The Silence of the lambs: Page to screen two-part documentary hosted by Peter Gallagher - 41 minutes
- A wealth of talent
- Preparation and authenticity
- Scoring the Silence - 16 minute featurette
- Original 1991 Making of featurette - 8 minutes
- 22 deleted scenes
- Outtakes reel - 2 minutes
- Anthony Hopkins phone message (audio only)
- 8 TV Spots
- (HD) Theatrical and teaser trailers
The silence of the lambs needs no introduction and is one of American Cinema's most recognized, highly regarded and discussed films. I am sure that I am not alone in my enthusiasm of its release on high definition Blu-ray Disc. This isn't the definitive high definition video quality that I had hoped for but I have never seen it looking or sounding better on home video. The fan friendly bonus supplements offer a fairly comprehensive inside perspective that dissects this classic film. I dont know what the future will hold for those waiting for another high definition Blu-ray release of The silence of the lambs. If like me, you are a fan of this film, I would recommend adding this to your collection.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package