- Casino Royale Review
- Carrie (1976)
- Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
- Trainspotting (1996)
- Rain Man (1988)
- Fatal Attraction (1987)
- Targets (1968)
- An Education (2009)
- Mirror, The (1974)
- Fargo (1996)
- Fight Club (1999)
- Do The Right Thing (1989)
- Report (1967)
- Is "The Sting" The Best Gambling Film Ever Made?
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Ox-Bow Incident, The (1943), Or 28 Angry Men
- Rome, Open City (1945)
- Spring in a Small Town (1948)
- Drive (2011)
- Vinyl (1965)
- Seconds (1966)
- Rosemary's Baby (1968)
- A Hollywood Invasion of Casino Halls
- Thin Man, The (1934)
- In The Heat of the Night (1967)
- All In: The Poker Movie, Player’s Best Tricks
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- 1001 Club - Skyfall (2012)
- 1001 Club - When Harry Met Sally... (1988)
- 1001 Club - Rain Man (1988)
Lone Star (1996)
Genre: Mystery Drama
Starring: Chris Cooper (American Beauty • Syriana), Kris Kristofferson (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid • Blade)
Directed By: John Sayles (Matewan • City of Hope)
Overview: When a skull and a tin star are found in the desert, the sheriff investigates what may have been the old corrupt sheriff’s murder 40 years ago.
Lone Star is one of those ‘I-know-little-about-it’ movies that I’ve looked forward to opening like a surprise for a long time. All I knew about it was that it was the image opposite Trainspotting in my 2005 edition of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. It shows a slightly askew screenshot of Matthew McConaughey looking rather stern and focussed in his big white cowboy hat and tin star. He sits looking up at an equally stern and focussed Kris Kristofferson whose thumb is firmly hooked into his bullet belt. Lone Star’s location in the 1001 tome put it in one of the folds where my book naturally opened to, so I’ve been frequently reminded to get around to Lone Star.
Some metal-detecting treasure hunters are digging around the desert in Rio County, Texas. When they uncover a skull, a masonic ring and a lawman’s badge, sheriff Sam Deeds (the ever-stoic Chris Cooper) begins looking into his town’s past. Sam is the son of the righteous Buddy Deeds (Matthew McConaughey), the sheriff who, 40 years ago, publicly confronted the dirty sheriff Charlie Wade (a beautifully angry Kris Kristofferson) about his dirty dealings. Naturally, Sam suspects the body is of Charlie, who was presumed to have just up and left one night all those years ago.
From here you would expect Lone Star to take a turn for the procedural – a high budget, character background-rich “CSI: Rio County”, but it strays far from the investigative policing that films and TV shows have shown us a hundred times. Rather than partners jumping from hunches to conclusions, this tale is told through the stories of the interconnected lives the old skull is linked to… or rather, it felt like there was this gaping void of ‘interesting’ that I was missing. I’m sure that unique not-so-heavy-on-the-how approach is why Lone Star made it to the 1001 book, but try as I might, I just couldn't get into it.
Full of character-building tangents and distractions, Lone Star is dialogue-dense but somehow it’s just not story-rich. Call it direction, casting, script, whatever, but in more than one scene I was pulled out by dialogue and acting that made me realize these were players on a set. It happened too frequently that chunks felt forced or even clichéd, and that, combined with two hours and nine minutes that somehow still felt rushed, well that doesn’t leave much hope for an ending satisfying enough to make up for the awkward. The ending was great, but the hole was already dug too deep. I just wasn’t liking where I was.
The main reason I was disappointed in Lone Star is because it left this emptiness – nay, this vacuum. I say vacuum because not only was something missing, but there was something there that got sucked out and instead left this tension, an ever-unfulfilled expectation that it would return. Lone Star should have focussed on Matthew McConaughey’s Buddy Deeds, a character introduced early on and then ignored in favour of turning him into a once-upon-a-time part of the modern mystery. His was the character I wanted to follow, his was the most interesting story and his was the element that was so lacking in Lone Star. I think he had all of six lines. Lone Star missed the mark, showing us instead the character of the son who was in Buddy Deeds’s shadow, the man who couldn’t hold a candle to his father, and a character who couldn’t hold a candle to the story I wanted to watch.
Performance: 7 Cinematography: 7 Script: 7 Plot: 6 Mood: 5
Overall Rating: 64% (Doesn't Shine So Brightly)
If nothing else, watching Lone Star is like going back in time and seeing Hollywood actor from the 90s all in one movie – a lot of nostalgia factor there.