directed by John Sayles, 1996
This is just a lovely movie, in case you didn't know. It's by a director whom I admire a lot, and it's got one of those Altmanesque interweaving plotlines deals going.
It takes place, tellingly, in a Texas border town along the Rio Grande, loosely centered around the sheriff there investigating an old crime that his father may or may not have been involved in. But that's only a hook to frame the real themes on. This movie is really all about crossing borders.
National borders, borders between races, borders between generations, borders between truth and lies, the borders we put up between ourselves and the ones we love. I don't find many movies inspirational in the Disney sense, but this movie makes me feel hope in all its dangerous beautiful messiness. Full of so many moments of quiet bravery (sometimes misguided, sometimes not) that are so easy to connect with.
In a lot of ways, it's the acting that makes this movie work. Every once in a while, when the dialogue threatens to spill over into something preachy, it's the stellar performances that draw you back in and make it all so human. Even the minor side-characters who are only on the screen for five minutes are real textured human beings.
It's a movie worth renting and watching twice back to back, if you have a long rainy afternoon sometime.
March 28, 2007