Silence of the Lambs
Synopsis: Clarice Starling is a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.
I recently purchased the 30th Anniversary release of The Silence of the Lambs from Kino Lorber Classics of this film so this is the watching experience I am going to discuss in this review not the theatrical or home viewing experience from back in 1990s. The screenshots and descriptions that are part of this review are from my setup at home, 65” Samsung Television with a Samsung A950 soundbar and the Sony UBP-X800M2 4K Blu-Ray Player
I was really excited to revisit The Silence of the Lambs, it is a film I haven’t seen in a long time but have nothing but positive memories of this disturbing film. This release of the film is fantastic and film itself still stands up to a rewatch, it is a classic (no suprises here). The two are storylines Clarice Sterling’s story in my opinion is the main story and the second storyline is the serial killer Buffalo Bill’s ongoing murder spree. Jodie Foster portrays Clarice Sterling, a top student at FBI’s training academy that is tasked with going to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, an imprisoned, psychiatrist that was a serial killer that ate his victims, played by Anthony Hopkins. The request to head to interview Lecter feels timed out to see if there are any insights that he has about the ongoing Buffalo Bill string of killings, maybe some perspective on another serial killers mental state that could lead to their capture.
Buffalo Bill is eventually revealed to be Ted Levine, and the character is killing women and keeping them alive long enough to get their skin prepared for skinning them, since they are using these patches of skin to make a “woman” suit.
There are nothing but amazing performances in the three main actors mentioned so far, Jodie Foster really embodies smart, intense, deeply empathetic and strength. I always come back to the scene in the home at the end where the lights are off and we see thru Bill’s eyes in nightvision, she is scared but still groping to find him, and never gives up.
There is also the amazing crisp stillness of Hopskin’s Lecter that you can feel his heartrate never elevates in his ongoing tête-à-tête with Clarice. This picture is from the initial meeting and first conversation:
This capture of Clarice talking to Lector in a cell in a Tennessee courthouse, and requests the truth after admitting her offer of a transfer and priviledges earlier in the film was a lie for his cooperation. You can feel the emotion and pain in this image:
A final image of the iconic moth that is pulled from the throat of one of Buffalo Bill’s victims:
This release looks fantastic, but be ready for the film grain this was shot on 35 mm and don’t expect it to be smooth and polished looking. Kino Lorber was able to use an existing 4K scan of the original camera negative done by MGM, it is the original Dolby Master 5.1 audio track. If you have a good home theater setup this is a huge step up from previous releases mostly because of the new HDR color grading that preserves the original look and feel but ups the contrast, that combined with more raw detail data available on a 4k disc really will make your setup shine.