Silver City (2004)

(On DVD, August 2005) Long, slow and dull political thriller that is nevertheless smarter than most of what you’ll see in theatres this year. John Sayles is, of course, an independent film-maker’s legend, and the quality of Silver City‘s execution clearly shows why: Not only has he crafted a good script and filmed it in a clean, sparse style, but he has also managed to attract an impressive number of known (and semi-known) actors on the sole basis of the project. Sayles intention with this film is (among other things) to expose the modern pseudo-conservative ideology in which politics is but another mean for businessmen to further their ambitions. It’s certainly no accident if Chris Cooper, playing a puppet candidate, acts and sounds exactly like a certain current American president… But perhaps the most impressive thing about Silver City is how it manages to cover so many themes in scarcely more than two hours. It exudes an Chinatown aura of hopeless corruption, a contemporary society built on lies and exploitation. Sure, the pacing could have been improved, and a meditative thriller is no excuse to put viewers to sleep. Still, there’s more good stuff than bad here, and it’s just too bad that the film is such a hard sell to mainstream audiences.

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