Lone Star

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Details At A Glance

Category Drama Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.78:1 16x9 DD 2.0 
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1995 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 129:57 minutes Other Extras Main Menu Audio
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (61:58)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director John Sayles

Warner Home Video
Starring Ron Canada
Chris Cooper
Clifton James
Kris Kristofferson
Matthew McConaughey
Frances McDormand
Joe Morton
Elizabeth Pena
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Mason Daring

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 2.0 
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Lone Star is a movie that rewards the patient and attentive viewer. Set in a small town in Texas near the Mexican border, it tells of Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper), the local sheriff. Sam lives in the shadow of his deceased father, Buddy (Matthew McConaughey), who has legendary status amongst the folk of this particular town as their previous sheriff. Legend has it that Buddy forced his corrupt predecessor, Sheriff Charlie Wade (Kris Kristofferson), to leave town, ushering in a period of great peace and contentment amongst the Mexican, African American and White populace of this particular small Texan town.

    A 40-year-old skeleton is discovered in the desert, and Sam Deeds rapidly becomes convinced that the skeleton is none other than Sheriff Charlie Wade, and he sets about finding out the truth about what happened to Wade all those years ago.

    Of itself, this is not nearly enough material to last the distance, but writer/director John Sayles adds many layers of complexity to this story, told elegantly by way of periodic flashbacks. This movie could easily have descended to the depths of a pedestrian whodunit, but it easily does not because of the intricate way in which this story has been fleshed out with complex and intriguing characters, and complex back story. There are no flashy gun battles here, nor any thrilling chase sequences, but merely well-written, well-acted and well-directed drama, something that we don't often see in film these days.

Transfer Quality


    This is a beautiful transfer which falls just short of reference quality.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very sharp indeed, with enormous amounts of fine detail visible throughout, including in the backgrounds of shots. At times, some minor edge enhancement rears its ugly head, with black outlines around some of the foreground objects and the occasional white halo visible, but this is not too distracting. Shadow detail is immaculate, with plenty of detail visible within the shadows of this frequently-dark movie. No low-level noise mars the image.

    The colours were accurately rendered, with deep and rich colours the order of the day.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing was generally absent except for a number of scenes involving venetian blinds which shimmered moderately. Film artefacts were generally absent, however, they did appear periodically in bursts, particularly at around the 99 minute mark of the movie.

    This disc is an RSDL DVD, with the moderately lengthy layer change placed at 61:58.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD, all Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded; English, French and Italian. I listened to the English soundtrack.

    The dialogue was easy to understand most of the time, but there were significant sections of dialogue that were all but unintelligible, requiring a lot of concentration to understand. This was partly the result of the quite thick accents on offer during this film, partly the result of some mumbling on the part of some of the actors, and partly the result of the often extreme levels of hiss evident in this soundtrack. Clearly all of the dialogue in this movie was captured on location, with the resultant lack of quality that this often entails. Audio sync was not a problem.

    The score by Mason Daring was limited in scope to some ambient cues, with most of the music for this movie being comprised of Mexican and 50s Rock 'n' Roll tunes. The music suited the film's themes and purposes nicely, without being particularly stand-out.

    The surround channel was fundamentally silent, only contributing the occasional echo or reverberation. The only time there was any significant surround presence was during the drive-in sequence, where car horns were placed in the rear channel. Otherwise, this was pretty much strictly a front hemispheric mix.

    The .1 channel had limited use only.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



Main Menu Audio

Theatrical Trailer

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this DVD are identically featured.


    Lone Star is a different movie that will not be to everyone's taste. It rewards the patient and attentive viewer with its well-written, well-acted and well-directed script.

    The video is of excellent quality.

    The audio quality is of poor quality.

    The extras are basic and limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
11th August 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Marantz DV-18, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer