25 February 2009

DVD: "Silver City"

Silver City
Written, Directed and Edited by John Sayles
Starring: Maria Bello, Thora Birch, David Clennon, Chris Cooper, Alma Delfina, Richard Dreyfuss, Miguel Ferrer, James Gammon, Daryl Hannah, Danny Huston, Kris Kristofferson, Sal Lopez, Michael Murphy, Mary Kay Place, Tim Roth, Luis Saguar, Ralph Waite, Billy Zane
DVD Release Date: 11 January 2005
MPAA Rating: R (For Language)
List Price: $24.96
Cinescopes Personality Type: Passionate Maverick

The Film
Dicky Pilager (Cooper) has reached the end of his bumbling days embarrassing his Senator dad (Murphy) and has chosen to run for governor of Colorado.  While filming a campaign spot, he reels in not a fish, but a corpse.  Danny O'Brien (Huston) is eventually tasked with discreetly investigating whose body the candidate has found, and he starts with three of Dicky's personal enemies.  The farther Danny's investigation goes, though, the more he learns of the shady side of the Pilager family and their relations with business mogul Wes Benteen (Kristofferson).

"The Making of Silver City" feature runs little more than half an hour, yet is dense with insights into the characters (provided by many of the cast), as well as the filming itself (provided by key members of the crew).  Writer/director/editor Sayles is joined (arguably, led) in a feature commentary track by producer Maggie Renzi.  Despite the creative power Sayles exerts in three key capacities, he largely sticks to comments about a particular day's shooting rather than discussing the characters or the story.  It's a nearly academic commentary, intended more for a film student than a casual fan.  You also get a "Trailer Gallery," a collection of trailers for other films likely to appeal to fans of Silver City.

The Recommendation
In case the caricatures of George W. Bush and Karl Rove weren't obvious enough, Sayles and (especially) Renzi make clear that the impetus for this film was their opposition to our last president's administration.  In point of fact, they recorded their commentary track on Election Day 2004.  If you take the film in the context of being just a liberal Hollywood attack on George W. Bush, it becomes uninteresting quickly.  Left-wingers will love the satire; right-wingers will dismiss it as tripe.  Those of us with a sense of humor who just like a well-told, interesting murder mystery should enjoy it.

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