Sunshine State

Sprawling in form like City of Hope and other Sayles movies, Sunshine State is set in Florida in the fictional towns of Delrona Beach and Lincoln Beach, communities that are subject to radical commercial changes.

Once again, women head the ensemble. Marly (Edie Falco) operates a motel owned by her cantankerous blind father. Desiree (Angela Bassett) returns to her hometown for the first time in 25 years to visit her mom, who had sent her away due to pregnancy. The villains are developers from an adjacent resort community, aiming to expand into the sleepy town. Marly befriends Jack (Timothy Hutton), the developers architect, a decent man who knows he had sold out.

The film deals with recurring themes in Sayles oeuvre: Preserving human history and nature; individuals forced to come to terms with their pasts; lonely souls trying to make human connections; tensions between personal and public lives. The older good characters are contrasted with young and bad ones. Dr. Lloyd is a lone decent voice, trying to organize his fellow Lincoln citizens to stop the county commission from caving in to the developers.
Delia, Marlys mom (Jane Alexander) is interested in theater and ecology, whereas Marlys ex-husband is looking for a scheme to get rich quickly. The corrupt commissioner and his wife are compared to a hard-working Native American who works for the developers. Again critics complained about the slow, deliberate pace, the prosaic style, the cartoonish characters.

Sayles has become lazy or uninterested in cinema for his movies lack ambition beyond the depiction of regional geographical texture. Consider his latest effort, Silver City, a shallow, overly familiar saga straining to pass as a relevant political drama about pressing issues. Chris Cooper plays Richard Pilager, aka as Dim Dickie, the son of a powerful senator who leads the race for Colorados next governor. Dickies language deficiencies and his reputation as being not a fine-print kind of guy echo another political son, Bush. Dickie is an ex-alcoholic son of a venerable father, running for his first public office while using his fathers shrewd campaign team.

The film opens on one of Colorados picturesque rivers where the candidate and ace campaign manager Raven are about to shoot a TV spot, the bucolic fishing thing. What Dickie hooks is not a big trout but the tattered corpse of a migrant Latino laborer. Suspecting that the body didnt just accidentally wander into his candidates vicinity, Raven hires Danny OBrien to investigate. Danny is a quintessential Sayles character: a one-time crusading journalist and lapsed idealist (he got fired for a muckraking story), who turned into a lethargic private detective, a clich character out of old detective fiction.

We encounter in this vortex of corruption the usual Sayles suspects: media magnates, greedy developers who plan a new community around the old mine, shady political reporters. Despite honorable intentions, Silver City doesnt work as a relevant portrait of Colorado or as a mystery either. T

Theres nothing new or controversial about the depiction of a corrupt political dynasty that bears resemblance to the Bush family. Not at present, when Michael Moores incendiary Fahrenheit 9/11 is far more scathing and entertaining than any fictional saga.