Director John Sayles reunites with his "Matewan" star Chris Cooper in a murder mystery that also serves as a satire on politics and the Bush administration. Unfortunately, all but the most obvious jabs flew right over my head.
"Silver City" stars an ensemble cast that features the likes of Danny Huston, Maria Bello, Richard Dreyfuss and Daryl Hannah. Cooper, in a disappointingly small role, stars as Dickie Pilager, a verbally-confused idiot who is being prepped to become the next governor of Colorado. Let's just say Cooper sounds exactly like Bush. During an environmental commercial shoot, Dickie accidentally snags the body of a dead Mexican floating in a lake, and his right hand man (Dreyfuss), suspicious of the coincidence, hires a private eye (Huston) to determine whether any of Dickie's enemies may be responsible. However, the private eye begins to dig too deep and uncovers a vast conspiracy that includes toxic dumping, illegal immigration, murder and a housing development called Silver City.
Though the movie is essentially a mystery, "Silver City" serves as a character piece driven by plot. Sayles has expertly written a complicated cast of characters, and it's so complicated that at times it's hard to follow. Had I been expecting a mystery, I would have paid closer attention, but I guess I was more interested in this movie for its satirical elements. Unfortunately, I was expecting more direct references than what Sayles provides. More than anything else, I was disappointed by the very little screen time that's given to Cooper, who, by far, is the most entertaining character to watch. Sayles, like me, seems to be completely confused by how so many people in America can vote for a man who clearly has no idea what he's talking about.
The movie is well-written, well-directed and well-acted, with an intriguing story and some funny bits. Still, I was expecting quite a different movie and in turn was a bit disappointed by the payoff. "Silver City" is not a bad movie, but it's only for the educated. If you don't know or don't like politics, this movie isn't for you.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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