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Lone Star (1996)

tomatometer

83

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 9,124

My Rating

Movie Info

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

R,

Western, Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

John Sayles

Nov 9, 1999

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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All Critics (60) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (3) | DVD (6)

[A] complex and rewarding new Texas murder mystery.

March 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of several of writer-director John Sayles's masterpieces -alongside such unforgettable films as "City of Hope," "Matewan" and "The Secret of Roan Inish" - "Lone Star" is an absorbing neo-Western mystery told in a haunting magical realist tone.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

The latest chapter in Sayles' ongoing great American novel.

March 11, 2008 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Lone Star, one of Sayles best and most popular films, explores the historical strain between the Mexican and American communities in Texas. Though a bit didactic (too many sermons), it's well acted and visually more satisfying than his other films

January 24, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Well over two hours with not a single minute wasted.

September 14, 2005 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

John Sayles is in fine form here, thanks in no small part to an excellent cast.

April 3, 2005
eFilmCritic.com

It is the structure of the film, including the smooth-subtle pans, turning present to past and back to present, that really awe. (published 7-19-96)

December 28, 2004 Full Review
Kansas City Kansan

Lone Star is intrinsically an aggregate of John Sayles' prior films, politically and racially.

August 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

A intriguing use of non-linear narration . . . a palette of fascinating characters, and the gothic Americana setting of a small Texas town with many skeletons in its closet.

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Could be shorter, but ultimately is Sayles doing what he does best

January 22, 2003
New Times

A near-perfect examination of small town Texas life, as seen through the prism of a decades-old murder mystery.

December 30, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

John Sayles' finest effort to date.

August 28, 2002
Lawrence Journal-World

A capacious drama about political, racial, and familial tensions and the changes sparked by memories in a southwest border community.

August 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It is among the best films of the nineties and the best independent features ever made in the United States.

July 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

This ambitious project is an engrossing and an original work.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Lone Star

The sheriff of a small Texas border town who languishes in the shadow of his legendary father investigates the murder of a corrupt predecessor who disappeared 40 years previously when his skeleton is discovered buried in the desert. John Sayles' complex murder mystery uses a criminal investigation as a foundation of an intimate exploration of the complexities of tribalism, racial tension and prejudice in the melting pot of seemingly disparate cultures that inhabit the borderlands of the United States. It's a very clever and insightful film as the brilliant Chris Cooper's investigation peels back the layers of secrecy and mistrust to reveal a set of relationships that are more like an intricately interwoven patchwork of greys than the blacks and whites that appear on the surface. Reminiscent of some of the Coen brother's best work as well as The Wire in its detailed examination of race and culture on both sides of the law, Lone Star is a much deeper, richer experience than the usual whodunnit. A forgotten minor classic that deserves more recognition than it currently enjoys.
May 8, 2014
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Lone Star is a contemporary Western of the highest calibre. The story covers 4 decades and weaves in and out of the lives of certain characters who have lived in a small town on the Mexican boarder. It's essentially a no-mans land full of people trying to attain their identities in a Town unsure of its own. It's very subtle but brilliantly handled with a who dunnit crime investigation holding everything together. It's got ever element a great film needs to have; Character development, great performances, good story and it has something to say.
September 27, 2013
SirPant

Super Reviewer

A near-masterpiece of the noir genre, detailing the dirty underpinnings of a close-knit town in Texas, specifically a respected sheriff (Chris Cooper) who stumbles upon a long-buried mystery that his late father (Matthew McConaughey, played in flash-backs) might have been involved in. What makes this film so impressive is its assured consistent plotting and character detailing throughout. It is not focused on wowing you for most of it is entirety, instead moreso on telling a story concerning race, loyalty, and family all in one two-hour spread. Then, like a freight train, the locks become unhinged, and the truth becomes clear, and it strikes with resolute force. Cooper's brilliant subtle turn may be the very best of his career, and McConaughey, in the few scenes he is in, also gets to show off his charisma and undeniable on-screen presence. Most impressively, the directing remains controlled and confident throughout its entirely. The only thing you could make a complaint about is that it may run a little too long (135 minutes), but outside of that, this film is dead-on.
November 2, 2011
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Far too long for what it is, I just couldn't concentrate on it and couldn't understand what was going on. Not my type of movie.
October 22, 2011
StarCrossedVoyager

Super Reviewer

    1. Otis Payne: Blood is only what you let it.
    – Submitted by Fanli Y (16 months ago)
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