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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover and Brian Dennehy
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 14 September 2009

Four desperate men come together in and around the corrupt town of Silverado in a time when the war in the west was between rights and might...

Silverado (1985 - 2 hrs, 12 min, 36 sec) is one of the last great western prior to their reinvention. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, the film was nominated for two Oscars.

The fairly lengthy film can be split down the middle with the first half languidly introducing the audience to the main protagonists and the politics of the west.

The film opens with Emmett (Scott Glenn) having to defend his life against unknown assailants, having won his life the film moves from the claustrophobic confines of the cabin to the open vista of the great American plains. Emmett stumbles across Paden (Kevin Kline) dying in the desert, saving him with water from his canteen. The two travel from town to town until they meet Malachi 'Mal' Johnson (Danny Glover) who is asked to leave town just because of the colour of his skin. In the same town Emmett discovers that the corrupt sheriff (John Cleese) is about to hang Emmett's brother, Jake (Kevin Costner) even though he had killed a man in a fair fight. It turns out the sheriff is on the payroll of the local cattle barons. With Jake sprung from jail the four men join forces and the scene is set for the inevitable showdown.

If it sound like every other western film you have seem there is a reason for this. As well as wanting to produce a stunning film, Kasdan wanted to create a homage to all the great westerns which had preceded it. In both respects the film was incredibly successful. Although the characters, settings and plot are familiar the script and acting lift the film up, finally giving the narrative its own distinctive voice.

The film is often held up as a revisionist western and although some of the casting was against type there is little in the way of pulling apart the myths which permeated western films. This is strictly a fun ride with our heroic quintet doing all the good deeds expected of a western hero, rescuing damsels and finally defeating the bad guys.

The film has certainly never looked better and the Blu-ray transfer should please the many Silverado fans as will the extras which include a full length commentary Along the Silverado Trail: A Western Historian's Commentary which takes a look at not only the film but also its influences. A Return to Silverado with Kevin Costner (21 min, 01 sec) has Costner musing on the importance of the film.

The film is presented with an English French and German Dolby TrueHD 5.1 plus nine European subtitles as well as Arabic and Hindi, there are also optional subtitles on the commentary track.

I’m not sure that it is the earth shattering reimagining of the west that many believe it to be but it is still an impressive one.


Charles Packer

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