Monday, March 21, 2005

Silver City and The Terminal

Monday, March 21, 2005
All I knew of Silver City is that it was the John Sayles movie where Chris Cooper does a killer impersonation of W. He does. But that's not really what the movie is about. Dickie Pilager (get it?) is running for Governor of Colorado. He's a fairly slow talking, dim-witted, easily confused and easily led caricature of President Bush. While shooting a promotional campaign commercial where Pilager is fishing in a river, Dickie manages to hook a corpse instead. Dickie's Karl Rove like manager Chuck Raven (Richard Dreyfuss) gets to work to protect his candidate and also to find out who did this. He believes that there are forces out to get Dickie and to sabotage his campaign. Raven gets a detective agency to work to find out who is behind it and also to let certain individuals know that "They are being watched."

Danny O'Brien (Danny Huston) is the investigator put on the case and "Silver City" is really seen through his eyes as he investigates. We learn, as he does, about the legacy of the Pilager family, their corruption and ties to some big business, and how the power of this family was built on illegal labor, dishonesty, and a poor record towards the environment.

While sometimes interesting and amusing (in particular, Cooper's Dickie Pilager just kills), "Silver City" isn't that great of a movie overall. It's really an attack on the Bush Dynasty but it feels unfocused at times. This movie isn't nearly as good as Sayles' Lone Star or even Limbo.

Is it bad, though, that I can't see James Gammon as anyone but Lou Brown from Major League? The man is an accomplish actor.

Switching gears.

The Terminal is a vastly underrated Spielberg film. It is about a man named Victor Navorski (Tom Hanks) who finds himself exiles in the JFK airport in New York City. See, Victor is from a country called Krakosia. It's a fictional Eastern European country that while Victor was en route underwent a military coup. Since the United States no longer diplomatically recognizes Krakosia's new leadership, Victor Navorski is a man without a country and can not enter the United States nor be returned to a country which officially doesn't exist in the eyes of the United States Government. So, he is stuck in the International Terminal at JFK (there is the roots of a true story here with an incident which happened in Europe, but that's as far as it goes).

What follows is Navorski winning over everyone but the man in charge of the airport who just wants to get rid of Victor but follow the letter of the law. But the official just starts to get petty, which is disappointing. Victor's basic decency shines through as he adapts to his situation and tries to eke out an existence.

There are no details about the rest of the plot which are very important to note, but maybe it is the combination of Spielberg and Hanks that make "The Terminal" better than it should be. It is a very decent movie, and I mean that in a couple of different ways. Quality wise, it is decent. But this is also very pleasant, enjoyable movie with a heart that is filled with decency. That's not at all a bad thing.

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