Directed by Lawrence Kasdan.
Starring Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Rosanna Arquette, John Cleese, Kevin Costner, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, and Linda Hunt.
Australian company Umbrella Entertainment has reissued Lawrence Kasdan’s classic Silverado as a region-free Blu-ray that ports over the bonus materials from the original 2009 disc. If you’re a fan of the film, or just a fan of westerns in general, you’ll want to check out the excellent commentary track with three film historians. The making-of featurette and the look-back with Kevin Costner are pretty good too.
I’ll confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of westerns. I know, that’s sacrilege for a movie fan to say, especially someone who has always been enamored with plenty of genre films. And, yes, one could say that westerns constitute the genre upon which many other genres sit, sometimes with their influences on full display, (Upon exiting a family viewing of Star Wars in 1977, my dad remarked: “It was like cowboys and Indians in outer space!” That it was, dad. Rest in peace.)
So it’s understandable if you’re wondering why I’m reviewing Silverado, which Australian company Umbrella Entertainment has issued on a region-free Blu-ray disc. I requested a copy of it because I’ll also confess that I’ve never seen it, despite being a fan of Lawrence Kasdan, who directed the film and wrote the script with his brother, Mark.
I was also intrigued by Silverado’s cast, which features: Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, and Danny Glover as a quartet of cowboys who fight corruption and racism in a frontier town; John Cleese as an overbearing sheriff who wants the four out of his town as soon as possible; Brian Dennehy as the corrupt sheriff of the town Silverado; Linda Hunt as a saloon owner; Jeff Goldblum as a local gambler who’s friends with that corrupt sheriff; and Rosanna Arquette as a potential love interest for two of the cowboys.
Despite that cast and Kasdan’s involvement, though, Silverado is a movie that never quite comes together for me. Sure, like I said, I’ve never been a big fan of westerns, but the Kasdan brothers’ story meanders, picking up a thread here and a thread there, sometimes dropping a plot point that seemed to mean something. The story is definitely meant to be lighthearted, with a desire to deflate many clichés common in westerns, but Jeff Goldblum and John Cleese in particular stick out like sore thumbs; I couldn’t buy either of them as denizens of the Old West.
I don’t have any prior home video releases of this movie to compare Umbrella’s Blu-ray against, but as far as I can tell, this edition is comparable to the one issued by Sony in 2009. Here are the bonus features you’ll find on the platter:
- Along the Silverado Trail: A Western Historians’ Commentary: It’s rare for a commentary track to have its own title, but I suppose the producers of this disc wanted to make sure that fans knew this wasn’t any ordinary commentary. It features three historians – Frank Thompson, Paul Hutton, and Steve Aaron – who come together to talk about the movie in the context of the history of western movies. They sometimes offer differing viewpoints, and not all of them love the film, which makes this an interesting experience even if you’re not a fan of Silverado. They have a lot to say about the genre and how this movie fits into it.
- A Return to Silverado With Kevin Costner (21 minutes): The actor looks back on his experiences making the movie, along with his love of the genre. He knew Lawrence Kasdan from The Big Chill, where his footage ended up on the cutting room floor, so he talks about his relationship with the director/writer and the way he approached a role that was very different from the western heroes he idolized in his youth.
- The Making of Silverado (37 minutes): This is a comprehensive making-of featurette that covers how the film came into existence, from beginning to end. Newer interviews (I assume they were shot for the 2009 Blu-ray) are included here, along with contemporary conversations with the cast and crew.
The theatrical trailer rounds out the disc.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★