Lone Star (1996)

There's a lot of machinery at work in this multigenerational and 
multiethnic drama from writer/director/everything else John Sayles 
(PASSION FISH, EIGHT MEN OUT).  Set on the Texas side of the 
Mexican border, LONE STAR follows Rio County Sheriff Sam Deeds 
(Chris Cooper, inexplicably wincing and frowning through the entire 
thing) as he attempts to solve a 40-year old murder mystery with 
apparent ties to every prominent person in the county, including 
himself.  Mr. Sayles has cast, oh, at least a hundred speaking 
parts in his 135-minute saga and the confusion over "who's who?" 
begins early.  (Due, in part, to a weak sound recording that often 
renders the dialogue difficult to understand.  How about handing 
out a program, someone?)  The cast is expectedly diverse and 
includes Clifton James, Kris Kristofferson, and newcomer Matthew 
McConaughey, as well as regular Sayles items Joe Morton and 
Elizabeth Pena.  However, as everything about this movie feels 
so... over-staged, hardly anyone is given the breathing room to 
make a believable impression.  We're presented with volumes of 
information about these people, their lives, and their lifestyles, 
and we couldn't care less.  (Rated "R"/135 min.)

Grade: C+

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted in triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: July 7, 1996

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