Reminiscent of the cinematic style of his "City of Hope", Sayles combines
mystery with family drama for a most satisfying mix. Doing a bit of Sunday
metal prospecting, two sergeants from the local Army post find a skull and
rusty sheriff's badge on the rifle range, and it doesn't take sheriff Sam
Deeds (Chris Cooper) long to figure out that they belong to the late and
bully-boy sheriff (Kris Kristofferson), run out of town a generation ago by
the good sheriff, Buddy Deeds (Matthew McConaughey). Buddy happens to be
In the South, we are accustomed to the idea that past and present merge and
diverge from time to time. Sayles just has a way of presenting it in
seamless fashion. And each time that you think he has digressed never to
return, Sayles is simply peeling back more layers of the onion.
African-Americans, Hispanics and Anglos each have generational differences
that enhance and blur the mystery of who killed Charlie Wade, the bribes and
bullets sheriff. At two hours and seventeen minutes, it can get a little
draggy in the middle, but I can't think of anything the story could do
without. My favorite character is Bunny, the ex-wife of our intrepid
sheriff, played by Frances McDormand, who puts the hype in hyper with this
football fanatic. Maybe it was just good to see Troy Aikman's number 8
shirt, but in all honesty, I think I sat next to Bunny at one of the high
school football games last year.
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