Film Scouts Reviews

"Lone Star"

by Benjamin Ibrahim

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Lone Star is perhaps the most interesting, understated film in the theaters this summer. For well over two hours, writer/director John Sayles puts us in Texas, the slow-moving state, where law is a state of mind, and ghosts of the past still have a hand in the affairs of the living. With a plot that plays out like a hearty Faulkner novel, with all its meandering, intertwined stories that cross generations, borders, and race lines, Lone Star is a long yarn, a story told by many voices, many of whom have a personal aversion or two to telling the whole truth. When a skeleton is uncovered a few miles outside of town, Sheriff Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper) takes on the unwanted task of investigating a case that strikes close to home for many of the residents of Rio county. Revolving around this central investigation, which essentially is about Sam's search for the truth about his father, are many searches for different truths, some which yield answers, and some which don't. The investigation becomes secondary to the development of the most consistently interesting cast of characters since David Lynch's Twin Peaks. However, in Lone Star, Sayles somehow manages to create characters that are fascinating without being warped and twisted, a trap that Lynch, and other American directors have happily plunged into. Sayles' characters are complex, interesting, and at the same time very real. Without seeming boring or contrived, the film provides a surprisingly exciting bit of historical background (a feat which should not be underestimated). This is thanks, of course, to Sayles' brilliantly written script, and the best acting I've seen in a long while. A truly multifaceted movie in all respects, Lone Star is most admirable in that it doesn't seek to give easy answers for all the questions it raises. In the slow Southern Texas drawl, sometimes it takes a long while for the other guy to answer you. Sometimes he doesn't answer you at all. It's all good.

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