Silverado (1985)

Nostalgic, classy western that hold its own after more than three decades.

Rating: ★★★★☆

This review was written 35 years too late

JOHN Cleese as the sheriff is just one of the pleasures in a terrific western that was made at time when the genre was on its last (four) legs.

Westerns in the 1980s were virtually dead. Compare this list of 80s westerns to the 1960s list and the gulf in quality is clear. Only Eastwood’s “Pale Rider” offers any real quality. And maybe “Young Guns” at a push. So “Silverado” came along mid-decade and reminded everyone just how good the West was — and could be.

Scott Glenn is Emmett, a just-released con who finds himself at the centre of an assassination attempt. After taking care of business in proper western style, Emmett heads for Silverado to meet his brother, played with energy by a youthful Kevin Costner.

Along the way he picks up various strays: Kevin Kline’s enigmatic and amused Paden, Danny Glover as Mal, the dead-shot gunman (Glover looks enormous here. I remember a small, hobbling fellow in “Lethal Weapon”. You wouldn’t mess with Mal in this movie).

Once assembled, they drift through connected adventures leading up to a welcome final showdown against vile rancher Ethan McKendrick

Have you clocked that cast list yet, by the way? And I haven’t even got to Brian Dennehy as the smiling but dodgy Sheriff Cobb. Or Rosanna Arquette, sadly underused in a slightly off-kilter romantic sub-plot. Plus John Cleese. Plus Jeff Goldblum! Even Jeff Fahey, scowling and evil-eyeing it all the way through.

Everyone combines in a mostly tight, classic western story, beautifully shot, that completely holds its thrall over the years.

Quick-draw quality.

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