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on July 26, 2001
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.
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on January 22, 2001
Lone Star is about a lot of things. It's about a small town sheriff's investigation of a thirty year old murder which may have involved his father, a local hero. It's about his childhood sweetheart, a Latina public school teacher, and her mother, a successful restauranteur who pretends her roots are Spanish rather than Mexican. It's about a black army colonel who is posted to command a closing base near his estranged father's nightclub. It's about his father and his son. It's about a small town on the border between the US and Mexico, and it's about the borderlands between history and legend, between fact and truth, between love and enmity. It's a romance, a mystery, an unblinking portrait of an American town at the end of the twentieth century.
It's possibly the most intelligent commentary on American history I have ever seen or read, and the fact that it's so damned smart doesn't make it one iota less entertaining. John Sayles is a master, and this is his best film yet. The cast, the screenplay, the cinematography, the setting--everything is perfect, and everything combines to make a film one can watch over and over and over again, gleaning something new each time.
If I could make every US citizen watch one movie, this would be it.
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on January 6, 2001
This is going to be short. I was moved by this film, the performances are dead on accurate. This is the first time I have payed attention to Chris Cooper and I feel I have payed a price for my oversight. Have you ever experienced something that changed your preferences, expanded your horizons, made you step out of your comfort zone? this film is a revalation to me. It addresses racial issues in a way that is totally non-biased, the point of view is human and not white, hispanic, or black but completly true. That is what makes this movie so important to me, the absolute truth that is involved within this film inspires true joy within all the pain that is displayed on the screen. The message to me is that bad things happen and that life has the proverbial ace up its sleeve for every one but these people are real enough to deal with that and this director is wise enough to let that come across in a way that is so unforced that every one that views this film wishes that they could open their door onto Rio County even with all of its imperfections and misunderstandings just to be able to veiw a society that is honest or willing to at least bend the truth if it will lead to some sort of harmony in a intricately woven tapestry of border living in the south west.
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on September 20, 2001
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.
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on November 25, 2000
This 1996 John Sayles film captures the essence of the changing social conditions and history of a border Texas town. More importantly, it brings out the humanity of a large variety of characters, each struggling with a legacy of the past.
When a skeleton found in the desert turns out to be Sheriff Charlie Wade who was murdered thirty years before, the current sheriff, Sam Deeds sets out to solve the mystery. What follows is a complex human drama, with intertwining stories that ultimately reveal some startling truths.
To best tell this tale, John Sayles uses a series of flashbacks artfully woven into the modern story, which enhance the viewer's understanding of the internal and external forces which have shaped the people of the town. We see the racism, the corruption, the romantic relationships and tread the thin line between right and wrong. We are constantly led through a series multi-layered series of interpretations.
Chris Cooper plays the role of the current sheriff with amazing understatement. He struggles with the thought that it was his own father, now deceased, who was the murderer. Elizabeth Pena plays his Mexican-American former childhood sweetheart with a sensuous sadness. Ron Canada plays the African American owner of a roadhouse with wisdom and insight. In flashback, Kris Krisotofferson is cast as the evil murdered sheriff. All performances are excellent.
The sense of place is brought out by the cinematography and the human dramas raise more questions then they answer. This is filmmaking at its best which will leave you thinking long after the video is over.
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on May 30, 2001
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.
Enjoy!
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on March 28, 2003
Not only does this film unfold with the richness and complexity of a very well written short story (think William Trevor in a border town), no one here seems to have mentioned that it also contains echoes of Greek tragedy (or even the biblical sins of the fathers being visited upon the children). It is so subtle and its many little subplots reflect back on each other in such surprising ways -- okay, I'll admit it: I never thought Sayles was capable of such greatness. This screenplay ranks up there with Chinatown and Sunset Boulevard. It's that great. Oh -- and once again, it is a little film graced with a terrific, throwaway cameo from the always-wonderful Frances McDormand. But it needs to be said: Chris Cooper is the calm, sure anchor of this film, playing a man who has had wisdom and insight thrust upon him perforce by things over which he had no control. A masterful performance from a great, heretofore underrated (but now Oscar-winning) actor.
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on November 18, 2000
The director,writer John Sayles,Macarthur genius fellow,has fashioned his masterpiec with this movie. It is the finest script I have seen in years,telling at least 5 stories,tying them together seamlessly,and bringing in contemporary political and cutural changes. The story surrounds a son of a legendary sherrif of a texas border town{chris Cooper in a terrific turn].himself the sheriff in a very different time and world.Tie in an army base ,the racail strife ,romance,a 30 year old murder,redemption and trying to escape from your past, and you have the barest outlines of this brilliant script. The actors uniformally excellent,from Cooper to Elizabeth Pena,Sayles staple Joe Morton to a cameo from Frances mcdourmand,to Kris Krisstoferson as a bigoted sherrif.The story not only overlaps ,but actually concludes by not having a traditional ending.simply filmaking as it can be. perhpas the best american film I have seen in years. excellent.
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on October 1, 2001
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!"
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on August 16, 2001
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.
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