Thursday, 11 March 2010

Stuff I own on Region 1

3. Lone Star

It’s truly puzzling when films like this are readily available in the Region 2 format and this John Sayles gem from 1996 isn’t. It’s a fantastic movie and up there with Matewan as Sayles’ greatest work.

The usual ingredients of his films are present here – astute social commentary, a brilliant ensemble cast and riveting dialogue - but all this is also framed within an intriguing and engrossing murder mystery, which begins when old bones belonging to a racist sheriff who vanished without trace decades before, are found. This discovery stirs up old feelings and secrets within a mixed American and Mexican community. Sayles regular Chris Cooper plays the sheriff of the town who suspects his own late father, the sheriff before him, of having a hand in his colleague’s death.

Matthew McConaughey plays the role of Cooper’s father, giving a truly commanding performance in the beautifully staged flashback sequences. Why McConaughey has sullied his career by starring almost exclusively in crappy, lifeless romantic comedies is beyond me. This role, together with his turn in Dazed and Confused, really signalled the arrival of an actor who had the potential to encapsulate the style of classic Hollywood players like Newman and McQueen. Shame.

Seek this out if you can as it really deserves to be seen.

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