Let’s get this out of the way: I am not a fan of Westerns. Silverado did not make me any more of a Western fan. I can see why there is a cult following for this film, it takes all the Western cliches and amps them up. It was like Lawrence Kasdan had a check list of Western cliches he needed to get through and checked them off one-by-one.
- Multiple scenes of dudes riding their horses across picturesque landscapes? Check.
- Shoot outs? Check (and check and check and check).
- Corrupt sheriff? Check.
- Saloon fight? Check.
- Covered wagons? Check.
- A hoedown? Check.
- Tumbleweed? Check.
- Gunfighter quick draw in the middle of town? Check.
- The good guys riding off into the sunset? Check.
Fan of the Western genre? You’ll be eating this film up. Not a fan of the Western genre? It will not convert you and may annoy you as Kasdan not only uses the cliches, he magnifies them and makes them bigger than life.
The first hour of the film succeeds better than the last part of the film. But, the moment the four cowboys reach the town in which the film is named after, things go downhill. The first hour is full of great character interaction and much of the humor of the film resides in the first hour. The second part of the film is a mess of shootouts and action. What was with the bad cowboys in this film? They were Stormtrooper rejects, they could not hit anything. The heros on the other hand could hit anything they aimed at.
Silverado basically lives on the performances of its A-list cast. Brian Dennehy turns in one of the best performances of the film as the sheriff of Silverado. Scott Glenn brings his signature intensity to the film as the “macho” cowboy of the group. Danny Glover is excellent, as always. Linda Hunt steals every scene she is in. Young Kevin Costner is just plain fun to watch. And Jeff Goldblum as a cowboy? Why not!
I expected more from the man who wrote some of my favorite films: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the end, Silverado is just not my kind of film. I am sure that there are many fans of the film – I know one and that is my buddy who recommended the film to me. So, my recommendation is this: If you enjoy Westerns, you’ll enjoy Silverado. It is a perfectly fine Western genre film. If you don’t enjoy Westerns, you will not enjoy Silverado.