Home NEWS Arts ScreenShots: “Lone Star”

ScreenShots: “Lone Star”


If you like your movies independent and spartan, with a sprinkling of trail dust and contemporary dialogue, you may like this ScreenShots recommendation.

We did. And not just because it features Texans with week-long drawls, boot-cut cuffs and new looks at old skeletons – both literal and figurative – as the camera rolls in for an unflinching, noirish examination of a community steeped in the legends of the Old West and where cultures collide like cattle trucks on country road.

Cut from the same bolt of New Western cloth that has drawn us to similar films like “Hell or High Water,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” Lone Star introduces us to the Texas border town of Frontera, and a legacy Sheriff named Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper) who is busy shaking off the ghosts of his “daddy” Buddy (Matthew McConaughey) – a legendary lawman and controversial local figure who paved the way for his son’s half-hearted role as town door-shaker.

Several story lines are already in play when Sam is literally handed a murder mystery in the form of a human skull and sheriff’s badge scratched out of the hardpan of an abandoned military firing range, Sam embarking on a rattlesnake coiled trail of truths, half-truths and outright lies about the disappearance of a preceding Boss Sheriff named Charlie Wade (Kris Kristofferson) who, as far as anyone can tell, walked into a local roadhouse and into the unsolved crimes logs one night 40 years earlier.

Sam Deeds, under fire politically as new majorities emerge to assume new powers, sparks up a romance with his high school sweetheart Pilar (Elizabeth Peña) while old tensions and town secrets bubble up like oil in a cricket well and Frontera’s townsfolk grudgingly give up stories long put to bed.

What We Liked: A nuanced story line with inter-woven connections and a multitude of surprises along the way, played against the lean landscape of a Texas border town.

More: Early and steady performances from McConaughey, Joe Morton, Ron Canada, Clifton James (who frankly reminded us of a certain city official in Uvalde, Texas), and Sam’s pill and football-addled ex, Bunny (Frances McDormand).

Where to Watch It: Amazon Prime, Apple TV


  1. Great cast. Now I have to see it.
    Sayles made a $350,000 film “starring” Joe Morton in 1984 called The Brother from Another Planet…which I half-remember, half-fondly. It was creative fun on the cheap. Together again!

  2. Saw it long ago. Fantastic movie with great cast. The music, the lighting, and the acting all accurately create the atmosphere, tempo, and heat of a small West Texas or South Texas town, Murder mystery, surprise ending.

  3. Finished it. Liked it. The ending WAS a surprise. Bunny (Frances McDormand) is there for but a moment. Still, it’s nice to see her in younger days, for perspective. Outstanding cast!

    • Ah, good. Glad you liked it. Bunny/Frances actually reminded us of some Texans/Midwesterners we know. They like their football back there!

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