Open Range

Movie Reviews | By on Aug 15th, 2003

Starring Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, Annete Benning, Michael Gambon, Michael Jeter, Diego Luna, James Russo
Written By: Craig Storper, Lauran Paine
Directed By: Kevin Costner

Yeah yeah it’s a Kevin Costner movie, so what!! I like a lot of his movies and think he’s making a comeback. He’s actually best at westerns and sports movies and this is technically a western movie so….I liked the movie but could have been better in some areas. The film is about 2 cattle drivers, Boss Spearman (Duvall) and Charley Waite (Costner) or “free grazers” who drive cattle across the open and free land, until one day they drive the herd near a small town and get threatened by a corrupt Marshall (Russo) and an Irish land owner, Denton Baxter (Gambon).

Baxter doesn’t want free grazing near his land and is gonna kill whoever disobeys. His clan of goons and gunslingers kills one of Spearman’s men and injured another. Now Boss and Charley are out for cold blooded revenge and don’t want to be bossed around by anyone. I’ve been waiting patiently to see this movie because when I saw clips of it, it looked like a movie I’d like to go see and I finally went to see it on a rainy NY day. That’s basically what this movie is, a good rainy day type of movie. That’s not a bad thing but just has that feel to it. I like the look of this movie, the landscapes, the action scenes, the non-Hollywood gritty look to the picture.

Costner paid for this movie out of his own pocket and I think it’s money well spent. Costner and Duvall make a good team together, and you can kind of tell that Costner took a step back into the limelight and let Duvall take the lead in this film. Costner’s character gives respect to his boss in the movie, and Costner looks like he’s given respect to Duvall off the picture as well. I’m kind of surprised Gene Hackman wasn’t in this movie.

Seems like Costner, Duvall and Hackman have been in more western movies than any actor besides Clint Eastwood. I liked the second half a lot better because it was going somewhere, the first half was more of an introduction and I didn’t know where the movie was heading. Thankfully, there’s a raw and gritty gun fight towards the end of the movie that makes up for the slowness of the movie. That gunfight had me at the edge of the seat because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I also like the other point of view of a gun fight, like through the town’s eyes and where did they go when the fight occurs. One problem I had with the film was Costner and Annete Benning ‘s romance.

It seemed rushed a little bit and they didn’t really show too much chemistry together. Another problem I had was lack of screen time for certain bad guys. When the time comes to see them on screen, you don’t get the sense how evil they are. I can see how the movie is through Boss’s and Charley’s eyes but the viewers of the movie should get more of a sense what kind of bad guys they were dealing with. One character that I really liked though was played by the late Michael Jeter. He always plays those tiny wacky likable characters. I think this was his last movie or 2nd to last before he passed away.

Overall, I liked Open Range but felt like the film could have been better in some areas. The romance between Costner and Benning was eh, and the some parts could have been edited better to make the pacing of the movie quicker. I’ll still probably buy this on DVD or at least rent it again to see how I really feel about it.

Favorite Scenes: The gunfight makes up for the slowness throughout the film
Rating: R
Running Time: 139 minutes
Overall Rating:

Topics:

, , , , , , , , , ,