White Hats, Black Hats, lighthearted adventure
I have never been a fan of classic westerns. The tone was never quite right with me. Then, pretty much as soon as it hit HBO, I was introduced to Silverado. A serious western that doesn't take itself seriously, it's a reconstruction that almost borders on parody. The movie wastes no time getting the action started, literally, beginning with Emmitt being ambushed in his sleep. Paden is introduced shortly thereafter to set the tone. "This," the movie tells you, "is a movie that's all about how much fun a good Western can be." And fun is definitely the word for it. While it's never quite tongue in cheek, the movie is full of deadpan snarkers, more classic Western tropes than should be allowed, and a sense that the Wild West in this movie represents freedom and individuality. The main characters are all likable, and their interaction is memorable. Jake's naivete, offset by his brother's world-wisdom, Paden's wry Loveable Rogue nature, and Mal's determined belief in what's right. ("That ain't right" is almost a catchphrase of Mal's, and you know it's hit the fan when he follows it up with "I've had enough of what ain't right.") The casting is superb, the direction is excellent, and the characterization is surprisingly deep. This is one of my favorite movies.