Kirven Blount
January 17, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Were Silver City president, it would be Jimmy Carter: possessed of an unassailable social and spiritual consciousness, with gaps in the presentation department. Of course, an indie ensemble film confronting societal ills is deeply felt; but it’s more important than ever that it hit on all cylinders. Like the tank-riding Dukakis, writer-director-editor John Sayles could do with another set of eyes, someone to question stagy set-ups, long blocks of exposition, and the casting of Danny Huston, who’s not up to what amounts to the lead role as a private detective. Mostly, though, the actors are excellent (particularly Chris Cooper, who layers intricate characterization into his Dubya send-up).

EXTRAS The sober commentary from Sayles and his life/producing partner, Maggie Renzi, and a making-of documentary confirm what you already imagined: a production short on time and budget but long on integrity.

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