Lone Star - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lone Star Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 19, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2011
Lone Star is an incredible crime / drama film. John Sayles directs an incredible cast of talented actors in this well plotted drama. Lonestar mixes many genres into one film, and director John Sayles manages to master every combined genre into one film. Lonestar is an incredible drama film abouit an unsolved murder that has taken place 25 years earlier in a small Texas town. Lonestar has multiple story lines that follows What I love most about the film is the awesome acting from Chris Cooper, he makes this feel shine. Everything that Cooper does is excellent. The film is an intense and powerful drama film that is a bit slow, but is nevertheless engaging. Sayles has a terrific eye for good, talented actors, and he doesn't disappoint with the cast of Lonestar, they all deliver Some choice were surprising for example, Clifton James who I only say him in the two Roger Moore James Bond Films, Live and let die and The man with the golden gun as rude Louisiana sheriff, surprised me here. Lonestar is a beautiful, accomplished film and is a well directed crime drama with romance in the mix. The film surprised me because I did not expect something this good, but I have to say, that Lonestar is a terrific film, one that should be seen.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2010
The movie begins with the discovery of a skull, a ring & a badge on a deserted rifle range. This prompts Sheriff Sam Deeds to investigate the matter. But from there on, the investigation takes the back seat. What follows is the story of the legendary Buddy Deeds, how his son Sam Deeds is over-shadowed by his great personality ("the story of his life" according to him), the love story between Sam & Pilar, some issues about the plight of Mexicans in Texas, then there's some Otis Payne,

I went for it thinking it's a murder mystery, but that's just a sub plot of several plots interwoven in a single movie here. Maybe it's the main plot. After all, it does open the closet of skeletons, so to speak. The murder mystery gets pushed into the background after the initial reels, but keeps popping up at long intervals to remind us that it's still there. And when it finally gets solved, it's hardly of any interest or importance. One fact that gets revealed due to this investigation might hold a shock value for some, but I saw it coming a long way before.

The main thing that I liked about this movie was the performances. Pointing out each & every actor's pluses would tend to get tedious & all the more repetitive. So in short, every actor, no matter how long or short their role is, have given their best.

Finally, I'd surely recommend it for its uniqueness even though it wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Had it not been for my ignorance of certain issues acknowledged in the movie, & my looking forward to it as a murder mystery, I guess I'd have liked it way better.
Super Reviewer
½ January 17, 2009
Sayles starts off with a plethora of concurrent story lines and flashbacks but manages to tie them all together quite nicely. This film deals with everything from parenting to immigration to racism to mental illness to politics to Texas history... Oh yes, almost forgot, and murder. To maximize your viewing pleasure, limit your interruptions and pay close attention.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2009
As close to perfect as any true masterpiece can be. Sayles has created one of the most absorbing and engaging character studies ever committed to film. However, this isn't just the story of one or two individuals. It is the story of a community, it's past, it's present and the presents recollection of the past. Cooper plays a Sheriff that investigates the discovery of a skeleton in the desert. It turns out the skeleton belongs to the most hated sheriff to have ever policed the county. Cooper believes his (now deceased) father, the most beloved sheriff to have ever policed the county, was the murderer. It's a mystery and a romance, as well as an in depth look at the multicultural communities of America. Sayles has sub-plots aplenty, but each one adds another layer to this perfectly scripted film. It has riveting dialogue, subtle emotions and a lot of conflict between parents and children. Lone Star entertains whilst making you think, and the surprises are exactly that. It contains as much detail and plot complexity as any season of The Wire, without seeming rushed or overstuffed. In other words, it stands against the true classics of it's, or any other time.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2008
You can tell this film's a masterpiece because you can't buy it on DVD in the UK, like Melville's "Le Samourai", Bertolucci's "The Conformist", Altman's "Nashville" and countless others. At its core, "Lone Star" is a touching and tragic love story centred around an archaeological murder-mystery, but it's so much more besides. John Sayles lays bare the racial prejudices (white, black and Hispanic), the hypocrisies and the generation-gap squabbles of a Texas border-town community. He also makes us question whether the suspected violent deposition of a corrupt lawman by his deputy--marginally less corrupt but loved by those he protected and served, regardless of their race--might have been an end which justified its means. Beautifully acted all round, especially by Chris Cooper and Elizabeth Pena. Sayles could teach Tarantino a thing or two about how to cherry-pick a great soundtrack; this has one of the best I've heard. A marvellous movie.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2007
I am a big Sayles fan and thought this ranks with some of his best work.
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2007
John Sayles is a master, and this is one of his finest pieces. Love it.
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2011
I'm on more familiar ground with John Sayles now, so I thought that I'd update my review on his masterpiece, Lone Star.

There's a lot to be said about a writer who can hook our attention right away with an opening scene, keep us focused for a good two hours, and then blow our minds at the end. That's what I call a good writer; someone who can not only keep the audience entertained, but interested as well.

Lone Star is a magnificent crime-drama with overtones of noir, western, and an underlying theme of racial tension. It is a film that not only proves that John Sayles is a fantastic writer, but also a fantastic director as well. He manages to get such true and realistic performances from his actors. Every sentence or action here speaks volumes.

One of the finer points of Lone Star, besides the writing and directing, is the editing. And isn't it weird how John Sayles did all three? The editing is flawless. It's some of the best that I've ever seen, if not the best. The transitions are perfect and smooth, and I just loved how one scene would just flow into another. It managed to make me grin a couple of times.

And I know that the whole 'racial drama' thing sort of turns people off when it comes to movies. I couldn't agree more. Face it, who wants to see that? That's boring. But Lone Star presents it in a way that makes it exciting. Movies like Crash are boring. Lone Star blends all of these racial themes with mystery and crime and well, it's just fantastic.
Super Reviewer
November 7, 2010
These were the sorts of John Sayles movies that I would really enjoy. I find that once Sayles tried to conquer the mainstream, he lost the very original way of storytelling that he once possessed.
Super Reviewer
½ February 21, 2010
The only film that I can really compare it to is Gosford Park. Both films use a "murder mystery" to explore much deeper and sociological themes. Lone Star is more about the formation of a community and our perception of history rather than a traditional who-done-it? and that is what makes it so absorbing. John Sayles is one of the great writer/directors and its sad that he is so unsung. He deserves far more credit than he gets and this film is a testament to that. Sayles wrote one of the best closing lines ever with this film . . . "Forget the Alamo"
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2007
A rich ensemble drama that never feels contrived.
Super Reviewer
May 1, 2009
Gives up on exploring the murder mystery and decides to beat the viewer around the head for two hours with anti-racism stuff.
Super Reviewer
½ October 18, 2011
"Lone Star" is a magnificent crime-drama with overtones of noir and western and an underlying theme of racial tension. It is a film that not only proves that John Sayles is a fantastic writer, but a fantastic director and editor as well.
Super Reviewer
September 7, 2008
Lone Star is extremely underrated.Located in Sayles' favorite dimension,a rural county near the border of Mexico-U.S.A.,the film provides us a feisty anatomy of the multiple characters and their well-hidden secrets.Sly and amazingly precise,mistakes of the past are haunting each of our protagonists,with Cooper and Elizabeth Pena giving excellent performances,it's more terrifying than just a simple tale of misconception of events.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2007
An epic spanning multiple generations and the constantly intertwining lives of several families seems complicated enough, but when the entire film is ultimately a parable for Mexican-U.S. relations it is a difficult task to make sure the film works and manages to explore every single one of the themes it raises without getting bogged down in them or resorting to pretention. John Sayles manages it by simply filming the script and letting the themes come to us, rather than beating the audience over the head with them.

The film is very well acted on all fronts, and a tight script and strong direction ensure the audience is never lost or anything less than entertained.
½ March 30, 2015
really well written drama focusing on several ethnic groups in a southern Texas town, as well as both sides of the law, also deals with the border issue, corruption, and the desire of a man trying to live outside the legendary shadow of his father, cooper is really good in the lead, and all the other actors as well, elizabeth pena is so beautiful, its a shame she had to die so young, it does move kind of slowly, i went in thinking the murder would be the main point and that it would be a thriller, but its definitely a drama, it's still very good though, the first movie from john sayles id seen, and it shows hes the real deal
April 16, 2012
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