SILVER CITY – NO RESPITE, ZERO MERCY BY SCOTT DEXTER

Directed by Scott Dexter / Reviewed by Biplab Das

Silver city is set up in 1950s London. Based on a true story Silver City shows the life of the notorious gangster Tommy ‘Scarface’ Smithson. This ten and a half minute long film accounts for the gruesome nature of Tommy Smithson. This black and white noir film captures the fear that people had in their minds when it’s come to Tommy Smithson.

Ideal for the British audience, especially those who are aware of the existence of Tommy Smithson, Silver City captures the long-gone era of the underground history of London. Those who lived through the post-war London, which was filled with crime and chaos, will be able to connect with the film. Interestingly, the director has chosen to highlight the underground world of 1950s London rather than praising about the city. The black and white look gives a distinction to the movie. Silver city here actually suggests sin city. People commit crimes and get away with it.

Silver City is directed by Scott Dexter. He is an award-winning filmmaker and author from South London. He is an alumnus of Regent’s School of Film, Media, and Performance. He has spent time studying in London, Kent, and the Dominican University of California. He is currently working towards a master’s degree in writing, and his next short film ‘Fairground’. The reason Scott made Silver City is to explore the dark era of London’s history. Apart from directing and writing, he also acted in one of his movies. He donned the producer’s hat in some of his films. Martin Neely who played the role of George has the most screen time in the short. His love and fear for Tommy Smithson are well portrayed through his acting. Billy James Machin played the role of Tommy Smithson. The scar on his face made him look villainous which also helped him to earn the title- scarface. His cold-blooded approach to deal with George shows why he is being feared, loved, and loathed. His stone-cold face made him look like the boss of the London underground world and why people weave stories around his life. Lewis Howley who played the role of Dave, young ‘Teddy Boy’ is also made his mark. He is clueless about the lurking dangers in London. He hears a story from George about Tommy Smithson. He portrayed his naivety in his short role really well.

Silver City explores the dark era of London’s history that is the 1950s. The short showcases an interesting contrast between three men muddled within a broken post-war city, filled with crime, chaos, and confusion. The film starts with the conversation between George and Dave in which George talks about the most notorious criminal of London – Tommy Smithson. George is a good-willed bar person but somehow mixed with the wrong people. Dave is just the listener and astonished to hear about the veteran criminal Tommy- a ticking time-bomb. The short takes a turn when Tommy Smithson arrives at the bar. George tries to please him with various tricks but at the end he succumbs. What happens to George and Dave is what the short is all about. George’s persuasion ideas are also been shown in the film. Last but not the least, the role that the radio played in the film shouldn’t be forgotten.

Silver City is a short film that aims to capture the 1950s but it seems apart from the radio, there is no other way to find the short is set in the 1950s. According to me, the film looks like a story of a gangster film of any era. The film ends with the question of what happens to George and Dave, leaving scope for the psychological study of Tommy Smithson- the criminal. As a noir, the short thrills at some scenes especially after the entry of Tommy Smithson. I give Silver City three stars out of five.

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