I consider LONE STAR ($20) to be one of the best movies of the 1990's. This undiscovered little gem comes from writer/editor/director John Sayles and tells a story that is part murder mystery and part character study set in a Texas border town. LONE STAR opens with the discovery of a human skeleton in the desert, which turns out to be the remains of a corrupt sheriff that disappeared decades earlier. As the current sheriff tries to piece together the mystery, both the past and present come alive as the audience meets the residents of his small Texas community.
LONE STAR is such a wonderful movie that I hate to divulge anything significant about the plot. It's best that the viewer get to know the richly shaded characters of LONE STAR by meeting them in the manner that John Sayles intended. What I will say about LONE STAR is that I love the way that Sayles has structured the film. LONE STAR effortlessly shifts back and forth between the past and present in such a fluid manner that the audience is hardly aware of the change in time frame. These transitions are flawlessly executed by Sayles, who makes it look as though he had cut these sequences together in his head, long before a single frame of film had been exposed. LONE STAR that tells a rich and diverse story that gives meaty roles to a superb ensemble of actors. The cast of LONE STAR features the talents of Kris Kristofferson, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Clifton James, Miriam Colon, Joe Morton, Ron Canada and Frances McDormand.
Warner Home Video has done a great job with their DVD edition of LONE STAR. The film is presented with it's very wide 2.35:1 theatrical framing completely in tact and the DVD features the anamorphic enhancement for playback on 16:9 displays. LONE STAR is a beautiful looking movie and there are almost no faults in this transfer. Other than a few shots that are a little bit soft, the image is usually quite sharp and highly detailed. There are a number of dark sequences in the movie that could have appeared grainy, but the transfer displays no evidence of film grain. The film element used for the transfer is very clean, with only a few minor blemishes being noticeable. Colors are well reproduced with a very natural level of saturation, although there are some more vivid hues that are equally well recreated. Flesh tones are realistic and I couldn't detect any evidence of chroma noise or bleeding anywhere during the presentation. Blacks are deep and true, plus the image delivers excellent contrast and a good level of shadow detail. LONE STAR is a well-authored DVD that utilizes dual layer technology to eliminate all noticeable traces of digital compression artifacts.
The DVD features an English Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack that decodes to standard surround. There is very little by way of directional effects in the mix. However, since LONE STAR is a dialogue driven film, one isn't likely to miss the type of "in your face" mix that accompanies most new movies. Dialogue reproduction is very good; the actor’s voices sound natural and are locked into the center channel. The surround channels provide only occasional ambient sounds and musical fill. By the nature of this production, there is no call for heavy-duty bass and the soundtrack doesn't provide any. A French language soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.
The interactive menus include music, but are otherwise very basic. Through the menus one can access the standard scene selection and set up features. A theatrical trailer is the DVD's only supplement and is accessible through the menu system.
As I stated above, I think LONE STAR is one of the best films of the 1990's. Warner Home Video has produced a fine DVD version of LONE STAR that it certain to please its fans. If you have never seen the film, check it out on DVD. If you have seen LONE STAR, and know the joys of this marvelous film, then you will want to own the DVD. Recommended.
DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE
CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written
consent of the publisher.
reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.