JUNE 23, 1996 [Lone Star]

In Lone Star the camera slips away from the talking figure, as though its eye were falling in discomfort or reminiscence, and wanders over to the next table where it's years ago and the sheriff's father is sitting there, about to become a sheriff himself--and after death beloved enough for the town to make him into a statue, a monument to his efforts to lay another row of bricks on the town's strong wall, set against the desert where the bullets lie in the sand for years and years, long enough to sow trouble, like dragon's teeth still hot.

But the son needs to see more than his father's statue--you can't interrogate stone; so off he goes, like some sideways Oedipus seeking a sand-blasted skeleton's murderer because that's his job, and little by little seeing where it leads, and swallowing the knowledge like a vengeful meal prepared by heartless enemies, his own flesh in his mouth.

John Sayles makes a Western film noir in which your gender and your race, your national origin--and your biological one, too--and even your point of view all get the third degree--and where the man who knows he's innocent finds out he doesn't know half as much as he thought, his loves haunting him out there all alone in the sand and scrub, a real Western hero one step beyond the frontier's margin where he finds little purchase to keep the past standing.


  1. I really need to watch this again. I've only seen it once, and it didn't engage me the way I'd hoped.

  2. @ themoviesnob: I was taken with the way Sayles got us to the flashbacks; put past and present in the same room. And I think the end is "anticlimactic" in terms of noir, but it certainly works as old-fashioned melodrama. And the casting works well. Made me a Chris Cooper fan.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts