I’m not too sure who John Sayles is, but for some odd reason, it seemed that the list strangely felt that it had to have one of his films on there, so it picked arguably his best one and wiped its hands clean. Not to say that Lone Star is a bad film, to the contrary it’s quite a good one, but it just didn’t feel like it was worth the spot on the list. Though, I guess I can be grateful that I don’t have to alternately deal with good films and outright bad films like earlier decades, but I suppose my standards have been elevated a bit; this is supposed to be a list of “must see” films, and like The Ice Storm, there’s nothing about this that really screams “must see”.
The film is at times a western, a neo-noir, a mystery thriller, and an intertwining character drama. The story deals with the investigation by a small-town Texas sheriff of a potential murder case that his town-wide-revered father may have been involved in, but it’s not really just about that; there are several prominent sub-storylines that each take up about as much screentime as the main plot, making the film a melting pot of story, of characters, of a whole town and how each townsfolk deals with their pasts and present. Like a melting pot, the film handles a lot of issues, like race relations, father-son dynamics, immigration, and town corruption, to name a few. The one thing the film did have that I’d not encountered before was how it handled its flashback sequences. There was no slow dissolve or pan-into-the-sky to signify that we’re flashing back in time; instead, the film has its past actors and present actors frequently in the same shot, with the camera moving from one group onto the other to tell its past stories and then moving back into the present without cutting or dissolving between shots. An interesting idea, and execution.
Unfortunately for me, I watched this right after having seen The Ice Storm, and I ended up with as little an overall opinion about this as I did with the former. And again, it’s not to say that this is a bad film, because it isn’t; it just didn’t have that importance or wow factor that I look for in a film from the list. This would pretty much get the same hesitant recommendation I gave to The Ice Storm; watch it because it is a good film, but don’t expect too much from it.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10