Silver City - Rotten Tomatoes

Silver City (2004)



Critic Consensus: Heavy-handed and often dull.

Movie Info

Celebrated writer and director John Sayles turns his eye to politics in America in this drama. The son of respected Colorado politician Senator Jud Pilager (Michael Murphy), Dicky Pilager (Chris Cooper) is a charming but half-bright man with a bad habit of mangling the English language and a decided lack of political correctness. Dicky is also in the midst of a hard-fought campaign to become governor of Colorado. Dicky's campaign manager, Chuck Raven (Richard Dreyfuss), is a ruthless sort who … More

Rating: R (for language)
Genre: Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Sayles
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 11, 2005
Box Office: $0.9M
Newmarket Films - Official Site


as Dickie Pilager

as Chuck Raven

as Danny O'Brien

as Cliff Castleton

as Casey Lyle

as Maddy Pilager

as Wes Benteen

as Mitch Paine

as Nora Allardyce

as Grace Seymour

as Mort Seymour

as Chandler Tyson

as Joe Skaggs

as Karen Cross

as Vince Esparza

as Lupe Montoya

as Frito Lopez

as Rafi Quinones

as Senator Judson Pilag...

as Tony Guerra
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Silver City

All Critics (133) | Top Critics (46)

Sayles must have felt the need to weigh in on the last election. But if he was going to do it, a little more planning, writing -- and especially casting -- would have helped.

Full Review… | November 19, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The plot of Silver City is movieish in the extreme, with filthy abandoned mines subbing for the bars and alleys of urban noir, but it's no more than mild cheese.

October 6, 2004
New Yorker
Top Critic

Though there's nothing wrong with moral outrage, it doesn't always aid the telling of a complex story. More subtlety might have worked better.

Full Review… | September 30, 2004
USA Today
Top Critic

Drama is too intense for kids and young teens.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

A simple talking, funny-accented greying conservative politician is shown to be a moron.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

Too close to reality to be effective as satire.

Full Review… | April 22, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Silver City


When watching this film and you see the great Chris Cooper playing a dim-witted politician, you won't be able to help relating it to real life. But this movie goes beyond satirising our incompetent President, it goes beyond just dark's making a social statement on different levels. The environmental issue is brought up; as well as ethics and corrupt campaign processes, feelings toward undocumented individuals as well as family dysfuntion issues. The great ensemble cast helps bring many different opinions into perspective through different characters who go through different things and are all at different stages of their respective emotional and spiritual breakdowns. At first view, the movie might seem pointless and contrived, but give it a second chance or at least let it sink in for a day or two before you decide that it sucked for you! Daryl Hannah delivers a very understated, yet very fuc&ed-up performance! That's a good thing for her!

Rico Zamora

Super Reviewer


Nice satire and goofy imitation of W moving up in politics.

Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer


"Silver City" starts out badly for Colorado gubernatorial candidate, Dicky Pilager(Chris Cooper) who is a son of a current U.S. Senator(Michael Murphy) and none too bright. While filming a campaign ad, supposedly showing off his fishing skills, Pilager reels in something quite unexpected - a dead body. His chief advisor, Chuck Raven(Richard Dreyfuss), works quickly at damage control and deftly employs an investigator, Danny O'Brien(Danny Huston), and gives him a list of three possible people who would most want to embarrass his candidate. O'Brien who is a disgraced former reporter goes beyond the call of duty by not only interviewing the listed people but also going deeper into the matter of the floating body.

One of the strengths of John Sayles' movies in the past is how they have been cast but "Silver City" is seriously lacking in this department. Dreyfus' belicosity(didn't he also do the right-wing thing in "The American President?") and Danny Huston who is not really fit to play the lead seriously hurt the movie. Cooper is wasted playing a one-dimensional character. Of the large cast, Maria Bello playing a reporter/ex of Obrien, James Gammon as a wily sheriff and Daryl Hannah as Pilager's sister come off best. And it's great seeing Tim Roth in anything...

"Silver City" is the first John Sayles movie I have been disappointed by.(The only one I have not seen is "Baby It's You.") It's quite similar to other multi-character socially relevant movies that Sayles has made like "Lone Star" and "City of Hope" but this time there is simply too much going on. It might have worked had the campaign been used only as window dressing but the caricatures of Bush and Rove(as personified by Pilager and Raven, respectively) serve as distractions from the main storyline. (Technically I agree with Sayles' politics but I think one has to go beyond simply criticizing the President and his lackey and make positive suggestions as to how the world should be run. Sayles to his credit does concern himself with the environment and how migrant workers are treated. He is also quite cynical of mainstream media and sees potential in how the World Wide Web is used in disseminating news.) Even worse, we never get to see any of the other candidates. Pilager is shown to be a right-wing demagogue but it is never explicitly stated that he is a Republican. Overall, Sayles sacrifices character and story to make a political point in "Silver City". It cannot compare with the infinitely better "Bob Roberts" as an examination of a right-wing political campaign.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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