the fresh films reviews

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Lone Star (1996)

John Sayles
Lone Star
135 minutes
R. Paul Miller
Maggie Renzi
John Sayles

Cast includes:

Sam Deeds Chris Cooper
Pilar Cruz Elisabeth Peña
Charlie Wade Kris Kristofferson
Buddy Deeds Matthew McConaughey
Hollis Pogue Clifton James
Otis Payne Ron Canada
Delmore Payne Joe Morton
Mercedes Cruz Míriam Colón
Danny Padilla Jesse Borrego ½
Ray Tony Plana -
Young Hollis Jeff Monahan ½
Bunny Frances McDormand



John Sayles, who made a name for himself as one of the most important independent filmmakers in the business during the 1980s and 90s, reached something of a commercial zenith with this slow-paced, meticulous study of the clash of three cultures over a span of four decades in a small Texas border-town. Structured as a contemplative mystery film, Lone Star is rich on characters and character relations, and Sayles utilises his familiar low-key dramatic style to slowly unfold his story – a story that may be meandering at times, but that never seizes to interest or make sense. It is Sayles' understanding of social mechanisms and the human psyche which is Lone Star's number one asset, and although the mystery as such may be slight, the subject matters Sayles tackles on his way to his conclusion are not; ranging from segregation, corruption and social conditions to lost love and mid-life crises. Sayles seasons his film with some elegant camerawork to let his narrative slide seamlessly in and out of flashbacks – and with a handful of strong performances by an interesting mixture of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming stars, including the late Elisabeth Peña, a delightful Kris Kristofferson, and the ever-dependable Sayles' favourite Chris Cooper.

Re-reviewed: Copyright © 12.2.2015 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review:
Copyright ©
28.3.1998 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang