Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Silverado" (1985)

I think I would have to credit Silverado with being the film that made westerns accessible to me. I grew up with a granddad who could always be counted on to watch a good western or war flick, (when he wasn’t watching Looney Toons) but they never really captured my attention. They were so old and even boring. But when Silverado came around, I was amazed. It felt so contemporary and fresh. It was genuinely exciting. And, even though it didn’t instantly drive me to watch more Westerns, when I got back around to them I had a better appreciation for them, because Silverado is the epitome of the genre.

The themes in Silverado are firmly western. Men being men on a frontier where the law is precarious and people have to fight for a life the way they want it. The man in the old west was a man of high principle and ethics, fighting for his own sense of justice. You can really see why this is the myth that drives the mentality in the western USA.

Then again, you can see why it is just a myth. If you think about it, everyone in this film is coming from the same perspective, both good and bad. They are all willing to fight, kill and die for their own idea of the way things should be. The bad guys want to be in power and the good guys want to have the power of self-determination without some bully taking it away from them. There are bad guys and god guys—there is right and wrong—but the frontier mentality is a little bit of a crazy thing to have nostalgia for.

Unless you truly could just find a patch and have no one to bother or harass you. But then you would really be on your own with no help or rescue if you needed it. It is a romantic dream, but a silly one. I am content to let it be a source of fun moving pictures.

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