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Lone Star (1996)

Cast: Chris Cooper, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peņa, more...
Director: John Sayles, John Sayles
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Drama, Independent, Crime
Running Time: 135 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

Reminiscent of a fine novel in depth and complexity, writer-director John Sayles' acclaimed drama uses the investigation of a 25-year-old murder as the framework for a detailed exploration of life in a Texas border town. The nominal center of the film is Sheriff Sam Deeds (the superb, subtle Chris Cooper), the chief law officer of the town of Frontera. The low-key Sam is also the son of the late Buddy Deeds (played in flashbacks by Matthew McConaughey), who also served as town sheriff and still maintains a legendary status for ousting the vicious, corrupt Charlie Wade (a memorably vicious Kris Kristofferson). The discovery of Wade's decades-old skeleton, however, calls this legend into question, and forces Sam to begin an investigation. During this search for the truth, Sam must come to terms with his own troubled emotions about his father and his still-lingering romantic feelings for Pilar (Elizabeth Peņa), a Hispanic woman that Buddy had prevented him from seeing as a young man. Lone Star's scope encompasses not only this story but the whole town, addressing Pilar's difficulties as a schoolteacher, the conflict between incoming immigrants and border patrol officers, and the troubles faced by the African-American commander of the local military base. Sayles expertly moves between past and present, weaving his stories together to illustrate, as in his earlier City of Hope (1991), how the seemingly disparate parts of a community are in fact intimately interconnected. Raising issues of race, politics, and identity, Lone Star nevertheless focuses most of its attention on its complex, believable characters, well-performed by an excellent ensemble cast. One of the most financially successful of Sayles' low-key movies, Lone Star received glowing notices and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. ~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Theatrical Trailer

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GreenCine Member Reviews

Sayles scores by Texan99 September 5, 2010 - 1:52 PM PDT
One of the few movies I've ever seen that got any part of the feeling of South Texas right. The flashback technique rewards the considerable effort it takes to keep it all straight. Using snippets of viewpoint from a variety of characters, the director not only stiches the plot together into a satisfying puzzle but also creates dozens of convincing vignettes from a number of walks of life and generations. That sounds formulaic, but it's not. It works. It's very generous. Only one quibble: Elizabeth Pena was wonderful, I loved her character, she was perfect, except -- what in the world was that accent? Sort of Scarlett O'Hara meets Puerto Rico. I gather she is from a Cuban family and was raised in New Jersey. It shows. No one in Texas, Latina or otherwise, has ever sounded remotely like that. Doesn't hurt the movie, though.

Superbly intelligent movie by Vkampmeier September 9, 2007 - 2:36 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I'd never heard of Lone Star, but decided to rent it because of the Chris Cooper factor. I was gradually drawn into the lives of these small-town people and became totally enthralled by about halfway through. Director John Sayles is so adept at making his colorful characters come to life in a believable and compassionate way. The acting was great, particularly Chris Cooper and Ron Canada. The complex plot was also marvelous- the final twist just sinking in as the credits began to roll. A wonderful surprise.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.48)
440 Votes
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