As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
Set against the backdrop of a mythic "New West," a satire that follows grammatically-challenged, "user-friendly" candidate Dicky Pilager, scapegrace scion of Colorado's venerable Senator Jud Pilager, during his gubernatorial campaign. When Pilager finds that he's reeled in a corpse during the taping of an environmental political ad, his ferocious campaign manager, Chuck Raven, hires former idealistic journalist turned rumpled private detective Danny O'Brien to investigate potential links between the corpse and the Pilager family's enemies. Danny's investigation pulls him deeper and deeper into a complex web of influence and corruption, involving high stakes lobbyists, media conglomerates, environmental plunderers, and undocumented migrant workers. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Yes, Sayles is over-ambitious in this movie and lectures us about too many things. But Silver City is worth seeing just for the wonderful individual performances of its actors. Chris Cooper is dead-on in his imitation of Dubya. He conveys privileged arrogance, impatience, mangled English and downright cluelessness. Alongside Cooper's work stand the performances of Kris Kristoffersen (how does he manage to be so soft-spoken and so threatening at the same time?)and the wonderful Ralph Waite (the quintessential American actor.) Also great performances from Tim Roth as the radical blogger, James Gammon as the Sheriff and Sal Lopez as a Mexican cook. But do other people think Danny Huston was miscast as the main character, Danny O'Brien? He seemed so "aw-shucks" goofy and dumb much of the time. Plus, was he made up to look like Mike Connors in Mannix or what? That 50's hairstyle was WEIRD. Now Tim Roth, HE looked and acted like a burnt-out radical reporter. The problem goes right back to the writing - Sayles is just trying to say way too much in this movie, and we get long lectures (instead of good storytelling) about land-developers, dirty politicians, immigrant abuse, pollution, journalistic ethics, corporate America, dysfunctional dynastic families, recreational substance abuse, casual sex, broken hearts - the list goes on and on. Lone Star was much more focused, and the relationship in that movie between Sheriff Sam Deeds and his Hispanic lover, Pilar, became a metaphor for the strange & symbiotic & incestuous relationship between Mexico and the U.S. Lone Star had the same great individual performances Silver City has, but it trusted its audience to be more intelligent and "get it" without hammering us over the head with the message. If you have the chance to see Silver City, definitely see it - the acting is wonderful. But expect a flawed movie.
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