Lone Star

Lone Star

4.3 9
Director: John Sayles

Cast: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Joe Morton

     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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 Peña), 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.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
A searing, thoughtful portrait of life in a Texas border town, Lone Star is one part history lesson, one part sociological study, one part murder mystery. A high point in the career of writer/director John Sayles, the film is a graceful balancing act: unshowy and low-key, it weaves together disparate stories into one compelling narrative, making even its minor characters into individuals of dimension and substance. Using the murder angle as a pretext rather than a plot, Sayles makes it a window through which subjects as diverse as border politics, racial prejudice, dark family secrets, and even a repressed, decades-old romance can be viewed. Lone Star was also Sayles' most successful film; unlike much of his previous work, it was embraced by a mainstream audience, and a number of critics hailed it as the best film of the year. Sayles' method of storytelling, which had occasionally gotten him into trouble for its novel-like complexity and density, served him well in this instance. Lone Star is the cinematic equivalent of a compulsive page-turner, a thoroughly engaging story filled with characters that are plentiful yet not shabbily rendered, and intrigue that is thought-provoking rather than sensational.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/02/1997
UPC:
0043396801837
Original Release:
1996

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Chris Cooper Sam Deeds
Elizabeth Peña Pilar Cruz
Joe Morton Delmore Payne
Ron Canada Otis Payne
Clifton James Hollis Pogue
Kris Kristofferson Charlie Wade
Miriam Colon Mercedes Cruz
Jeff Monahan Young Hollis
Tay Strathairn Young Sam
Matthew McConaughey Buddy Deeds
Frances McDormand Bunny
Gabriel Casseus Young Otis
Richard Coca Actor
Stephen J. Lang Actor
Stephen Mendillo Actor
Gordon Tootoosis Actor
Beatrice Winde Minnie Bledsoe
Chandra Wilson Pvt. Johnson

Technical Credits
John Sayles Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Dan Bishop Production Designer
Kyler Black Art Director
Shay Cunliffe Costumes/Costume Designer
Mason K. Daring Score Composer,Songwriter
Stuart Dryburgh Cinematographer
Jan Foster Associate Producer
Dianna Freas Set Decoration/Design
Avy Kaufman Casting
Paul Miller Producer
John Powditch Asst. Director
Maggie Renzi Producer
John Sloss Executive Producer
Clive Winter Sound/Sound Designer

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