2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Examination of History
Lone Star is about history and how history can either be a prison or how it can set us free. The characters in the movie start out bound by their history. Their histories, familial and cultural, determine a course of action for the characters living in present day Rio County. By the end of the movie, these characters have come to grips with their own personal history...
Published on June 21 2004
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great... but more than a little weird
The movie itself (up until the ending) was fantastic. It was hard to follow at first but after a while it became easier to understand. Each character was brilliantly complex and the chosen cast played them perfectly. The end was severely disappointing (I almost cried because I was so angry at it) and I would not recommed this movie if you like decent endings. I think...
Published on Feb. 26 2004 by beatuptheclowns
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5.0 out of 5 stars FORGET THE ALAMO,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)In my opinion the best american film of 1996, LONE STAR established at last John Sayles as the most interesting american writer-director in activity. This subtle allegory of the History of the United States features, in the same movie, the fights of the minorities and thoughts about the legendary icons that made the U.S.A.
If the screenplay of LONE STAR is complex and superb, one also appreciates the performances of Chris Cooper as a wry and disenchanted sherif and Frances McDormand as Cooper's neurotic ex-wife. Their performances alone should justify your investment.
A trailer and subtitles as bonus features. Meager. Sound and images OK.
A DVD zone your library.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of the 1990s,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)Whatever the reasons are that John Sayles has managed to elude the attention of the mainstream entertainment media, he has had no trouble developing and mastering his craft. Lone Star is quite possibly his finest accomplishment thus far ...and is as well-executed and thought-out as any movie I have ever seen. The subtlety employed in the style and in the performances keeps the emotional maelstorm just slighly under the reins; Sayles' style is about provoking ideas in the viewer, not about spelling things out for the lowest common denominator.
This film demonstrates its superior quality in every important filmic element: acting, direction, cinematography, dialogue, and plot. The actors are honest and real, and have an excellent grasp on how to deal tastefully with mystery and taboo. The direction is smooth and seamless (check out the scene where the camera pans from the contemporary scene in a Mexican border town to a historical scene invloving Eladio Cruz on the other side of the border). The cinematography is beautiful (I always thought that it was done by Haskell Wexler - the greatest ever - but recently learned that it was Stuart Dryburgh.. Wexler has filmed other Sayles films, including Matewan and Limbo), offering a version of border-country Texas that both illustrates and conflicts with the insiduous, corrupt reality. The dialogue is simple and elusive, and tends to talk "around the point," leaving the true meaning to be dealt with by other cinematic means. The plot is complicated yet not difficult to follow, and reveals information only as it is needed, creating an aura of suspense and mystery not known in the cinematic world since Coppola of the 70's. Like the Godfather films, Lone Star is ultimately a movie about familial relationships.
As far as love stories go, the one included in this film is one of the most painful and beautiful I have ever seen.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of the past 10 years,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)
"Lone Star" is terrific as both a mystery and as a snapshot of small town America, Texas-Mexican border style. However, it is something else going on here. As Sam moves between the Hispanic, White, and Black communities in Rio County, we see how members of each group feel that their ethic group is different and separate from the others. However, in the end, the movie shows us how we are all pretty much the same and the degree that our lives are intertwined. (Look for a scene in an African-American bar where a record is playing on a jukebox. Later, virtually the same record, this time sung in Spanish, is played on the jukebox in a Mexican restaurant.) At the end of the film there is a final surprise that pretty much left me stunned while driving home the point of just how closely related to each other we all are.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of those Rare Gems!,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)A very well done and highly under-rated mystery and drama. Kris Kristofferson plays Sheriff Buddy Deeds, ruler of a small Texas border town. A crooked, racist man, whose exploits are uncovered again and delved into some 40 years later, when his son and the current sheriff; Sam Deeds, played by Chris Cooper (of Lonesome Dove fame) comes across a badge and some bones in the desert with the help of some off-duty soldiers, out treasure hunting. Very fine acting and excellent character studies by all, including Elizabeth Pena, Matthew Mconaughey, and Frances McDormand (Fargo).
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiction or Non-Niction? THAT is the question!,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)Lone Star appears on the surface to depict your typical murder mystery, but if you "dig" a little deeper, there's more to it than that. There is an underlying theme in that everyone,no matter your race, sex, or color, is all somehow related. It's all about a common ground and how "family" is not restricted to blood relatives. (Although sometimes it is, even when you least expect it.) This movie is also clever to point out that many people continue to live lives filled with lies rather than give up the comfort and security in finding out the facts. The evidence for this movie is found in reality. Pay close attention to the many symbols, from "Charlie," to "Buddy Deeds," to a flag or even a Colt 45. These symbols give meaning to give people interaction. Also, keep track of names or you will get " buried" too. And, "Remember the Alamo!"
4.0 out of 5 stars Lone Star Perspective,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)Edgar Allen Poe once said, "all that we see or seem is nothing but a dream within a dream". This principle applies to the citizens of Rio County, Texas of the movie Lone Star. Everything that the characters hold true is really just part of another truth.
Each character must face everything all that they "see or seem" when the skeleton of former county sheriff, Charley Wade, is unearthed. Present sheriff Sam Deeds sets out the mission to find out what the truth is behind a local legend. Sam's father Buddy Deeds, Rio County hero, is the main suspect. The investigation into the past affects the future of many citizen. Pilar, Sam's high school sweetheart, who wants to reconnect with Sam. Her mother Merceedes, who is prejudice against her own heritage. Otis and Mayor Hollis who would prefer to keep the legend alive, and forget the past.
The small town culture lends to the intertwining storylines. Cultural and racial divisions cause Rio County citizens to coexist with an underlying tension. Their viewpoints on what happened in the past affects their present day lives. Also, the races divide: Otis's bar is a "haven" for the African-Americans, Hispancis battle with whites over the majority rule. All groups coexist under the small town politics. This is most evident in the Marshall law of Charley Wade and Buddy Deeds favor system. In the end, what the audience, and the characters, are led to believe is true, is shown to be another, convoluted reality affecting their relationships.
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Rio County,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)Charlie Wade (Kris Kristofferson) was a corrupt, evil Sheriff of Rio County, Texas in the 1950s. When he disappears one night, along with $10,000, the community is only too happy to accept his Deputy Buddy Deeds (Matthew McConaughey) as the new Sheriff. Buddy is a legend. Almost the entire community loved, and still reveres, Buddy Deeds. While Charlie Wade antagonized the black and Mexican members of the County, Buddy Deeds kept peace and harmony.
Years later, when Charlie Wade's long-dead body is found in the desert,the new Sheriff, Buddy's son Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper), must find out what happened.
While Sam Deeds is trying to solve the old crime, he is also trying to come to terms with his father's legacy and reunite with his old girlfriend Pilar Cruz (Elizabeth Pena).
Director John Sayles intertwines the stories of the Cruz family, the Deeds family and the Payne family.
The very interesting thing about this movie is that most of the problems revolve around fathers. Pilar Cruz, Sam Deeds and Delmore Payne's (Joe Morton)lives are all very much influenced by how they perceive their fathers.
Sayles uses music and flashbacks to enhance and explain the story, and he uses them both extremely well. He uses the music to set the scene, and it is never overbearing.
All of the acting is terrific, especially Joe Morton as Delmore Payne. An incredibly important part of the movie is the location. Very close to the border, Rio is home to many different cultures. Sometimes these cultures do not co-exist peacefully. This was especially a problem during Charlie Wade's time as Sheriff. There is conflict in the schools about the teachers teaching Texas history from the Mexican perspective, and there is only one bar in town for the black residents to visit.
John Sayles does a fantastic job of creating a believable, entertaining, interesting and easy to follow story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Twists and Turns in the Desert,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)Almost anything said about the plot of this movie would ruin the experience for anyone who hasn't already seen it, but anyone who likes a great ride at the fair will love it. I mean, right out of the shute, imagine Kris Kristofferson as one seriously bad S.O.B. and then imagine that he pulls it off beautifully. Riding the razor edge of almost but just not quite overplaying it, he winds up being perfect. The rest of the cast is made up of (aside from Matthew McConaughey, who actually made this movie just prior to his breakout) good character actors, people you've seen in any number of movies but who's names just won't come to your lips. But, to be honest, the scene seques are the real treat of this movie, which, again, to explain would ruin the effect of. All in all, a really satisfying film and, for the real videophile, a must see and, no doubt, must have movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mega Star,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)Lone star is my favorite John Sayles film. Why? Interesting mystery plot with many flashbacks with interesting transitions between then and now. The yarn: a southwest border town, flash to the past, a mean sheriff, played delighfully by Kris K., then a good sheriff or is he really a good sheriff? Flash to the present a murder is discovered and a good sheriff investigates and the past starts to unravel. Colorful and multi-dimensional characters who discuss many dilemas which can only be dealt with and not solved. Different perspectives between Anglos, Latinos, and African Americans. Twisting plot with a twisted ending. Also great camera work and sound track with some of same songs sung by different singers. What I did not like about the DVD version is that there is no director's commentary. I have viewed both DVD versions of Sayle's Limbo and Secret of the Roan Inish because they have the director's commentary which gives you more perspective in the art of film making and the creativity and story telling of John Sayles. Though I still strongly recommend this great American film.
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best indie film in years...,
This review is from: Lone Star (Widescreen) (DVD)I saw this movie when it was first released, and then again this week-end on TNT. It's one of the best films I've seen and I plan to purchase it for my library.
It doesn't have a lot of action and the plots develop slowly, but, like In the Heat of the Night, there is not one throw-away scene.
I've never seen Kristofferson so evil...his work was real enough to be very, very scary. I liked Chris Cooper and Frances McDormand is a riot in her all-too-brief scene as Cooper's strung-out ex-wife.
I live in a small town in east Texas and I know people like the Sheriff, Big O, Buddy and the others.
The plot twist at the end might be a bit off-putting for some, but, to me, it just added to the quality of the writing, directing, acting and drama.
This is a movie to be savored. Do not expect action, car crashes or surrealistice special effects. It's a film about real people facing real issues and doing their best to right some very bad wrongs.
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Lone Star (Widescreen) by John Sayles (DVD - 1999)