Combustible Celluloid
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With: Chris Cooper, Kris Kristofferson, Matthew McConaughey, Frances McDormand, Joe Morton, Elizabeth Peña, Ron Canada, Míriam Colón, Clifton James, LaTanya Richardson
Written by: John Sayles
Directed by: John Sayles
MPAA Rating: R for brief language, sex and violence
Running Time: 135
Date: 06/21/1996

Lone Star (1996)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Law and Borders

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

"It's not like there's a borderline between the good people and the bad people," says one character, "You're not on either one side or the other." John Sayles's brilliant modern Western spends most of its running time on that theme. While investigating a decades-old murder, small town Texas sheriff Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper) must reckon with his legendary, but flawed father (played in flashback by Matthew McConaughey), his lifelong love, the mixed-race Pilar (Elizabeth Peña), as well as complex, shifting politics and ideals among the local whites, blacks, Chicanos and Seminoles. Kris Kristofferson co-stars, and Frances McDormand has a memorable scene as "Bunny," Sam's ex-wife. Sayles creates an entire history and political climate for his town, but doesn't neglect the relationships of the folks who live in it. Lone Star is a great, literary, humanist achievement, now largely considered the masterpiece of Sayles's impressive career.

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