The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Sunday, September 19, 2004

SILVER CITY


"We need to keep our infrastructure in place... where it belongs"

I saw the new John Sayles flick Silver City last night, here is a review in tidbit-format.

--Everything you've heard about Chris Cooper's thinly-veiled Bush impression is true and then some. In fact, there was no veil at all. The speech pattern, the pauses, the sentence fragments, the deer-in-the-headlights look, the fake cowboyism... it's all there. What's scary about it is that Cooper doesn't stray too far from our reality, and I think anyone, of any political affiliation who sees the movie would accept that observation. He plays the not-so-bright son of a US Senator, and is a candidate for Governor of Colorado.

--Just as delightful is Richard Dreyfuss playing the Karl Rove role. Between this and The American President (in which he played the Gingrich character), Dreyfuss sure enjoys pretending to be a Republican.

--Cooper's Bushian hamming eventually takes a backseat to an almost noir-ish mystery involving the body of a deceased undocumented worker that shows up in a Colorado lake. The ensuing investigation by a detective (Danny Huston, John's son btw) allows the story to evolve into a tale of corporate victory over such gruesome enemies as the environment and labor standards.

--The result is we get the standard John Sayles movie template -- a dectective-ish story involving race relations and the working poor -- with a biting political satire superimposed over it. Sometimes the contrast is jarring, particularly when one of Cooper's hilarious, platitude-laden speeches is followed by one of the more somber noir-ish scenes.

--Still, one is never bored, and there are a number of small but well-written roles filled by name actors. Check out Daryl Hannah as the candidate's fuck-up sister, Billy Zane as a corporate spokesman with a devilish grin, and Tim Roth and Thora Birch as the operators of a liberal website looking for dirt on the candidate, whose name is, comically, Richard Pilager.

--The end, while farcical, is (slight spoiler alert) something of a white flag in the face of the power of the corporate/political establishment, except on the interpersonal level.

There are some other nice touches (note the posters in the background at the website headquarters), but in the end, while the character development and the writing are outstanding, Silver City is not the most purpose-driven political film I've ever seen. A shade too defeatist for my tastes. TFM Grade: B-

However, the fake campaign website for Dickie Pilager is top-rate, though if they were really serious about Bush parody, they'd cover the front page with pictures of Pilager's opponent. Still, hilarious. Check out his issues page, here's a sample:
On Freedom

The world changed as we knew it on September 11th, 2001. Much like December 7th, 1941, the United States of America was slapped, and now we must all do our duty -- however small, however large – and slap back...
There's a lot more.

-- -- -- -- --

I will be away all day tomorrow on school-related business, so no posting until either late tomorrow night, or Tuesday. I will leave all this pirate shit up for one more day, for ye pleasure.

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