Silver City (2004)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Mystery  |  24 September 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 3,468 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 78 user | 77 critic | 36 from

The discovery of a corpse threatens to unravel a bumbling local politician's campaign for governor of Colorado.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dickie Pilager
Chuck Raven
John C. Ashton ...
Elizabeth Rainer ...
Donevon Martinez ...
Lazaro Huerta
Deputy Davis
Charles Mitchell ...
Danny O'Brien
Alma Delfina ...
Lupe Montoya
Roslyn Washington ...
Mort Seymour
Grace Seymour
Mitch Paine


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

24 September 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Em Campanha  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$337,484 (USA) (17 September 2004)


£98,855 (UK) (29 July 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Danny is splashing in the mine, the type of flashlight he is holding changes several times. See more »


[first lines]
Ad Spokesman: Richard Pilager cares about Colorado.
See more »


References All the President's Men (1976) See more »


Leadville Tattoo
Written by Mason Daring
Performed by Duke Levine & Dave Mattacks
Daring Music/Administered by Universal Music Corp.
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User Reviews

A contemporary curiosity
3 October 2004 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

What film depicts corrupt politicians and businessmen controlling a vast local resource but enduring a sometimes-hapless yet attractive detective investigating a murder involving those community leaders? If you said 'Chinatown,' you'd be correct; if you said 'Silver City,' you'd also be correct. There are other similarities such as both have stars with last names Huston, and justice is long coming. Beyond that, there is no qualitative similarity: Roman Polanski's 'Chinatown' is a classic; John Sayles' 'Silver City' is a contemporary curiosity.

'Contemporary' because the liberal Sayles writes and directs about a political campaign for the governorship of Colorado that barely disguises its protagonists as George Bush (Chris Cooper) and Karl Rove (Richard Dreyfuss) knockoffs. Cooper's candidate has halting, incomplete, and scripted sentences, undoubtedly the speech patterns of Bush. The manipulative and effective machinations of Dreyfuss's operative are patently those of the infamous Bush campaign mastermind.

The story and dialogue are undistinguished, as if they count on the audience to be mesmerized by the broad parallels to the 2004 campaign. (See 'Primary Colors' for wit and grit about the Clinton campaign, starring John Travolta.) Although Danny Huston (son of John and brother of Angelica) is a lesser Jack Nicholson, his easy-going persona works well for a detective who constantly gets himself into trouble rather than his clients out of it.

The comparison to Michael Moore's documentary 'Fahrenheit 911' is inevitable. The heavy-handedness of 'Silver' makes Moore's work look almost subtle, yet Sayles must be praised for his dissenting voice in parlous times for free speech. Sayles is more successful in weaving the intricate patterns of corruption in 'City of Hope'; here he seems more like Moore in an overt attempt to topple a sitting president. Sayles's 'Lone Star' is more believable, and that's about incest.

John, Viscount Morley in 'Rousseau' wrote, 'Those who would treat politics and morality apart will never understand the one or the other.'

These filmmakers understand both in varying degrees of success.

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