Jonathan Demme, director; Orion Home Video/Criterion Collection;
1.85:1 letterbox (not anamorphic) Dual Layer; Dolby Digital 5.1 English;
It used to be that the Criterion laserdiscs were the ones you paid all the extra money for to get a lot of extra special features, as well as exceptional image quality and packaging. Now this sort of thing has become common in the DVD world, with almost any release offering extra features: commentary from directors, etc. (often several), production documentaries, and other behind-the-scene insights. By such standards the Criterion Silence Of The Lambs seems almost sparse, with a director- and-stars commentary audio track, 7 deleted scenes (most of which were abbreviated rather than actually cut), storyboard/scene comparisons, and some additional insights into the psychology of serial killers. Perhaps I’m being unfair in criticizing Criterion for being caught up to by the competition.
But I am a little disappointed that the film is not anamorphically packaged; even though the picture resolution is very good, it would have been better had the DVD producers gone the stretch to maximize pixel utilization. And the film is so beautifully shot that it deserves every tool in the arsenal to enhance its image quality.
Silence is a wonderful film that shows Jodie Foster’s maturity as an actress, especially when faced with a fine performance by Scott Glenn as her FBI boss and mentor, and a superb over-the-top rendering of a psychopathic killer by Anthony Hopkins, the glue that holds the movie together. “Hannibal the cannibal” is an acting tour de force that Hopkins will be remembered for long after his attempt to personify Richard Nixon has faded from memory.
Demme’s direction is masterful, moving the story along as the identity of the Buffalo Bill is unravelled. I find this film as fascinating the third time through as the first, and even with my quibbles about this DVD, I recommend it highly.