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Silver City Deception By: Sean Daniels
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, October 01, 2004

Posing as a complex political satire, John Sayles’ new movie, Silver City, perfectly epitomizes the Left’s hysterical and unbridled hatred of President George W. Bush. Like the rest of his leftie moviemaker counter-parts, writer/director Sayles shows a complete disregard and disdain for historical truth. Indeed, when it comes to blackening and sullying President Bush and his administration, Sayles knows no constraint in creating a long list of invented crimes.       

It has, of course, become commonplace for the contemporary Left to invent and then internalize outrageous lies and distortions about Bush, and Sayles’ new political thriller enforces this pathology to its bitter self-destructive end.  For Sayles, vilifying Bush is just an initial step, invariably leading to the leftist must: a savage denunciation of the democratic, individualistic and free market foundations of American life.  


Sayles’ film is completely devoid of any truly noble or well-intended individuals; and in this absence, all the corrupt or compromised characters circle around the vacuous Richard Pilager (Chris Cooper), a blatant, one-dimensional caricature of President Bush whose development in the movie follows the expected leftist course: Pilager is the son of a powerful politician, Senator Judd Pilager (Michael Murphy); he was a college drunk, nicknamed Dim Dickie by his college fraternity, and a failed business man, bailed out by his father’s multi-millionaire friend, Wes Benteen (Kris Kristofferson), and he now seeks to become governor of Colorado.


Throw in a middle-aged religious awakening to evangelical Christianity and an obvious tendency to mangle the English language, and Sayles’ Pilager has the right moniker and all the necessary characteristics that the Left’s hatred of Bush demands.  Of course, it is a given that such characters do not possess any humanity; anything resembling such a concept is purely a political talking point and a way to steal votes.  


“This is a nation built upon Christian values,” Pilager intones. But beneath his traditional morality and free market rhetoric, Pilager is worse than immoral; he is the confused and unwitting puppet of powerful, capitalist forces that seek self-interest and profit at the expense of Colorado’s environment.


Thus, the movie’s first scene presents Pilager, on the set of his next political television commercial, throwing a fishing line into a seemingly pristine river only to reel in a murdered corpse. It does not take a literary critic to understand that the dead body represents the polluted state of nature. Something is indeed rotten in the state of Colorado and the river brings it to light. But it takes the investigative skills of a private eye named Danny O'Brien (Danny Huston) to trace the actual depth of Pilager’s criminality and how it has contaminated every facet of American life.


While some films, like Mike Nicols’ Primary Colors (1998), provide their audiences with a more complex examination of political personalities, Silver City is not a character study of President Bush; it is a leftist portrait of how the values of privatization and deregulation destroy nature and people’s prospects for freedom and equality. The only positive political portrait comes when an old disenfranchised miner reminisces that “under Carter, they put teeth in the rules.” But for someone like Sayles, Carter’s “benevolent” vision of America has been destroyed by conservative principles.   


In this respect, Sayles’s picture is devoid of subtlety on any level. As Sayles himself concedes, “I want to see Bush defeated, and if this movie contributes to that, great.” But like all leftist propagandists, Sayles believes that his movie leaves the political questions open to debate and further inquiry: “Then sort it out yourself, that's all the movie is asking. Do the digging. The way I saw this, the character Danny plays is the American voter. He has to wade through all of it to draw a conclusion.”


There is, of course, no room for interpretation. Sayles’ “American voter” is nothing other than an extreme radical who sees only the fallibility of America and the inherent evil of its political, economic and social institutions. The only conclusion that Silver City offers is that the conservative political position conceals unregulated environmental rape, human rights abuse, and ultimately murder.    


Some mainstream media critics like Scott Galupo of the Washington Times recognize Sayles’ leftist hysteria: “And when you come up empty, you'll realize — if you hadn't already — that Silver City is little more than a patchwork of leftist pessimism and paranoia.” But most critics see Sayles’ fantasy as a precise portrait of our current national situation. One of America’s most famous liberal critics, Roger Ebert, sees nothing inaccurate about Sayles’ film and, in fact, laments the lack of political impact the film will have upon the American populace:        


“That's why "Silver City" may not change any votes. There is nothing in the movie's portrait of Pilager/Bush that has not already been absorbed and discounted by the electorate. Everybody knows that Bush expresses noble thoughts about the environment while his administration labors to license more pollution and less conservation. We know Bush's sponsors include the giant energy companies, and that Enron and Ken Lay were his major contributors before Lay's fall from grace. So when Dickie Pillager is revealed as the creature of anti-environment conglomerates, it comes as old news.”


With this, Ebert argues that conservatives are complicit in the “criminality” of Bush’s administration and that only liberals can understand this clear and present danger. But this “critique,” like Sayles’s Silver City, and the leftist script of lies that it follows, is the real fabrication being hoisted over the American public.

Sean Daniels is Frontpage Magazine's contributing editor.

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