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UKScreen Rating:

Silver City – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Dickie (Cooper) is campaigning to become governor of Colorado. While shooting an environmental promo on the shore of a beautiful lake, he casts a fishing line into the perfect water – and pulls out a dead body.
His campaign manager Chuck (Dreyfuss) smells a rat and hires a private investigator Danny (Huston) to delve into whether a political rival was trying to set him up.
During his investigation, Danny finds a whole number of people who don’t want Dickie to reach office and he uncovers corruption and scandals enough to topple any politician.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Being a John Sayles film, you expect smart dialogue, good performances and thoughtful direction. You get all that, but you also get a sense that he wasn’t quite sure what to do with this film.
One of the film’s chief flaws is that it takes too long to get off the ground, largely because it doesn’t seem sure where it’s going. At first, it seems like it’ll be a film about a candidate for governor, then it appears that it’s becoming a film about a political spin doctor but then it settles down into a film about a former journalist investigating the discovery of a body. He, alas, was by far the least interesting of the three leading characters. A film about a bumbling candidate and his sharp and ruthless spin-doctor would’ve been much more rewarding than what becomes a rather pointless mystery.
Once it settles on a story, it then becomes bit of a wild goose chase for the viewer, as rather than having to find the suspects himself, three names are presented to Danny at the start – and then when none of them turns out to be involved, it makes us feel like we’ve been wasting our time – and at well over two hours, that’s a lot of time to waste.
The main target of the film – capitalism-linked-corruption – has been tackled many times in the past. It’s an easy target, but in this film, with so many characters emerging from the woodwork, amazingly, Sayles seems to miss it. The message gets lost.
And the timing could have been a bit better…Dickie’s character is clearly based on another bumbling republican candidate, whose political survival depends on the team he has assembled around him, as he certainly can’t do anything himself. Had it come out a year ago, during the last US presidential campaign, it might have had more impact.

Opens nationwide on 22 July 2005

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