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Smart and absorbing, Lone Star represents a career high point for writer-director John Sayles -- and '90s independent cinema in general. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In the Texas border town of Frontera, Sheriff Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper) digs up the past when he finds an old skull in the desert. As he traces the murder of Sheriff Charlie Wade (Kris Kristofferson) 40 years earlier, Deeds' investigation points toward his late father, the much-loved Deputy Buddy Deeds. Ignoring warnings not to delve any deeper, Sam rekindles a romance with his high school sweetheart while bringing up old tensions in the town and exposing secrets long put to rest.

Cast & Crew

Chris Cooper
Sheriff Sam Deeds
Joe Morton
Colonel Delmore Payne
Ron Canada
Otis Payne
Clifton James
Mayor Hollis Pogue
Kris Kristofferson
Sheriff Charlie Wade
Miriam Colon
Mercedes Cruz
Jeff Monahan
Young Hollis
John Sloss
Executive Producer
Mason Daring
Original Music
Stuart Dryburgh
Cinematographer
John Sayles
Film Editor
Dan Bishop
Production Design
J. Kyler Black
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Lone Star

Critic Reviews for Lone Star

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (3)

  • With old-fashioned craftsmanship, Lone Star is not a movie you'll quickly forget. It may not dazzle you with its flash, but it has more on its mind than all the summer would-be blockbusters put together.

    February 27, 2018 | Full Review…
  • [A] complex and rewarding new Texas murder mystery.

    March 22, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A richly textured and thoroughly engrossing drama that ranks with indie filmmaker John Sayles' finest work.

    March 26, 2009
  • Sayles' witty, vividly demotic dialogue knocks even Tarantino for six, the characterisations are uniformly colourful and credible, the soundtrack and the widescreen camerawork exemplary ...

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Sayles' latest never bores during its 21/4-hour unreeling. But neither does it soar, despite finessing a complex flashback narrative set in 1957 and present-day.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • Quote not available.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lone Star

  • Nov 02, 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.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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.
    Sophie B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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