Silver City Reviews
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.
* Bottom 50 Films*
That summary of "Silver City" maikes it sound far more interesting than it is. This 2004 movie is so heavy-handed in its political messages (Republicans/Conservaitves ALL bad and evil and corrupt and stupid, Democrats/Liberals ALL good and pure and civic-minded and brilliant); the satire not even approaching clever or insightful, but merely recycled George Bush jokes that were old in 2001; and the mystery that Danny O'Brien investigates is drap and ultimately of a "so what"? variety. (But, it mostly becomes that due to the unrelenting, hackneyed political screeds that passes for the script and plot in this piece of junk.)
This could have been a decent political thriller with satirical overtones if it hadn't been helmed by what I can only assume are a bunch of frothing fanatics. "Silver City" is the political equivilant of a third-rate drama airing late at night that Christian cable channel--if you're a True Believer, you'll think it's thrilling and funny. If you're even the least bit able to see that politics and politicians is far from a black and white game, and that no one rises to the top by being an idiot, and that no one is pure evil or pure sweetness and light, you will find this film to be a total waste of your time.
The only positive thing I can say about "Silver City" is that the cast all turn in excellent performances. I particuarly enjoyed Danny Huston, Billy Zane, and Daryl Hannah. I might even have liked Chris Cooper if his character had been just a tad more original and better written... but he did what he could with the unfunny crap he was working with.
I think the many glowing and fawning reviews this movie--which stinks worse than the corpse that ruins Dickie Pilager's film shoot--can be used as evidence for right-wingers who like to cry about liberal media bias. Only someone who is so severely brainwashed they're a mind-numbed robot could give this film anything approximating a positive review.
Starring: Danny Huston, Chris Cooper, Richard Dreyfuss, Maria Bello, Daryl Hannah, and Billy Zane
Director: John Sayles