Lone Star (1996)

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The sheriff of a small Texas border town who languishes in the shadow of his legendary father investigates the murder of a corrupt predecessor who disappeared 40 years previously when his skeleton is discovered buried in the desert.

John Sayles’ complex murder mystery uses a criminal investigation as a foundation of an intimate exploration of the complexities of tribalism, racial tension and prejudice in the melting pot of seemingly disparate cultures that inhabit the borderlands of the United States. It’s a very clever and insightful film as the brilliant Chris Cooper’s investigation peels back the layers of secrecy and mistrust to reveal a set of relationships that are more like an intricately interwoven patchwork of greys than the blacks and whites that appear on the surface. Reminiscent of some of the Coen brother’s best work as well as The Wire in its detailed examination of race and culture on both sides of the law, Lone Star is a much deeper, richer experience than the usual whodunnit.

A forgotten minor classic that deserves more recognition than it currently enjoys.

8/10

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