This is a very special film for me to review because Silence is on a very short list of movies that I consider to be perfect. What I mean by that is all the elements of the film not only come together perfectly, but that they are perfect examples of their craft. This is reflected in its vast number of award nominations and wins. Not just the stellar cast and direction, but the Oscar winning script, the cinematography, editing, score, and sound design are top notch. Criterion has honored this film with a beautifully designed and striking two Blu-ray Special Edition.
The Silence of the Lambs is a crime thriller that in some ways is more terrifying than any horror film. Jodie Foster plays Clarice Starling, a promising young FBI trainee who is given an ‘interesting errand’ by the head of the Behavioral Science division. A vicious serial killer dubbed ‘Buffalo Bill’ is kidnapping young women, killing them, and removing their skin. Clarice is sent to interview a serial killer in captivity, the infamous ‘Hannibal the Cannibal,’ Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins), to work up a psychological profile. Starling finds herself pulled into the hunt for Buffalo Bill when Hannibal indicates he knows Bill’s real identity and offers to help her catch the killer in exchange for details about her life.
Criterion has once again gotten an amazing film transfer on the disc. Silence is a film where the graininess and griminess in the image is by design but this new transfer manages to clean and sharpen the image to the best it has ever been without sacrificing any detail or grain. The second disc is full of interviews and behind the scenes featurettes for viewers to explore, and there is also a small book of essays included in the set. My personal favorite extra is a full thirty-eight minutes of deleted shots and scenes (this even includes a small bloopers reel and the entire gospel program that plays outside of Lecter’s cell). The excised footage includes much alternate dialogue and scene arrangements and a number of scenes that show much more of Clarice as a student (a couple of them I wish had been left in). This is an A+ Edition and even if you already own the film it is worth replacing your older copy with Criterion’s.
Teenaged David (Josh Wiggins) has to go out to the wilds of Montana to join his father Cal (Matt Bomer) on their once yearly hunting trip. An accident out in the wilderness leaves Cal critically injured and the underprepared David struggling to get his father back to civilization in time. Walking Out is a tense and moving survival story with solid performances and some of the best nature cinematography I’ve ever seen in a narrative film.
Special Features include deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, and the theatrical trailer. Not a lot of extras but more than most of the IFC releases and what’s included is interesting so, it’s enough.