Review Date: 2/3/02
Written, Directed, and Edited by: John Sayles
Cast: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Kris Kristofferson, Joe Morton, Matthew McConaughey, Frances McDormand
This movie caught me completely by surprise, and was something I'd never pick out on my own. A human skeleton is found out in the desert of a small Texan border town, and Sheriff Sam Deeds (wonderful Chris Cooper) investigates. The investigation merely serves as a framework for an in-depth slice of life character study that spans the tangled relationships of three generations. An extremely well written piece of work that delicately weaves all of the seemingly unrelated characters and events into a tightly knit whole, and carefully walks the viewer through the entire process. The cinematography is brilliant and the flashback transitions are some of the best you'll ever see. The film has a real and honest feel to it, and captures the color and flavor of rural Texas quite nicely. The casting is superb, and the acting is top notch. Chris Cooper makes an excellent and sympathetic lead as the sheriff who's living in the shadow of his legendary father and desperately trying to make something more of his life, and Kris Kristofferson gives new meaning to the term "rat bastard". A thoughtful and endearing film that's definitely worth checking out.