Lone Star

"Good"

Lone Star Review


Lone Star can be simply described as an incredible mess.

John Sayles, darling of the indie film movement, has created this picture, an epic study of racial tension in mythical Frontera, Texas, a border town in the Rio Grande Valley. (The film was actually shot in Eagle Pass, quite a ways upriver from the Valley.) Set against the backdrop of a son investigating his father's involvement in the murder of a sheriff some 40 years earlier, Sayles wanders, Short Cuts-like, through the lives of 15 or so major characters.

The film is full of excellent performances, including Chris Cooper (Sam Deeds, the current sheriff and investigating son), Matthew Mcconaughey (Buddy Deeds, his dad, in flashback), Kris Kristofferson (the evil and long-dead ex-sheriff Charley Wade), Elizabeth Peña (Pilar, Sam's girlfriend), and Frances McDormand (in a cameo as Sam's ex-wife). The problem is that Sayles's script could have used some work, as it meanders through 2 1/2 hours of plot that is mostly irrelevant to the primary story line. One of these side-tracks involves Pilar's Mexican family, their prejudices, how they want to teach Texas History, illegal immigration, and a host of scattered other themes. Another subplot involves the black community, a closing Army base, a family drama between grandfather, father, and son, and how this all fits in with the 40-year old murder (answer: very, very sketchily).

Sayles's biggest problem is that he likes the sound of his writing so much that he lets it go on forever. In fact, he continually prefers to talk about things that have happened than to actually show them happening (thus violating the first rule of screenwriting). It's no wonder that your legs (and mind) are asleep when the movie's over.

Sayles also has a poor understanding of what the Valley is really like, giving it a large black community that simply does not exist there. With Lone Star, Sayles is trying to jam every racial theme he's ever thought of into one movie, but he fails due to this glaring inaccuracy (and interestingly, it's that very subplot which is the poorest).

By the time the engrossing final 15 minutes arrive, we're already too bored to care too much. Sure, there are a few nice twists along the way, and as a director, Sayles's use of flashbacks is well-done and breaks up the monotony of the script. Also, the aforementioned solid acting does a lot to give this otherwise mediocre film some credibility. A real editor (Sayles did that, too) would have saved the picture, though, by trimming off 45 minutes.

Finally, with this serious drama set in remote, rural Texas, Sayles will achieve two things with certainty: 1) That most critics will drool all over him with praise, and 2) that no one will actually pay to see the film. Sorry, John.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 135 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st June 1996

Box Office Worldwide: $13.3M

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Castle Rock Entertainment, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Rio Dulce

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 43 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: R. Paul Miller,

Starring: as Sam Deeds, as Buddy Deeds, as Pilar, as Charlie Wade, as Del, as Bunny, Stephen Mendillo as Cliff, Stephen J. Lang as Mikey, as Celie, LaTanya Richardson as Priscilla Worth, as Cody

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.