Open Range

Dan Movie Reviews

After snagging some dinner in Westwood, John and I went to see Open Range, Kevin Costner’s latest flick about two freegrazers (Costner and Robert Duvall) who seek out justice and revenge when their party is attacked by cattlemen. I can’t say I was really excited for the film from the trailers – it looked alright, but nothing to rush out and see. But then Justus raved about it, and a few other folks expressed their enthusiasm for it. So, I figured what the heck.

The movie is slow. It takes it’s time to build up, and that allows the viewer to immerse themselves into the world of the film. A world where sunny vistas quickly turn overcast, and torrential downpours at night make things dark and muddy. The gunfight is quite expertly done. It’s realistic in that there are no slow-motion shots, no “unlimited bullets”, and the guns (much like in the real day) don’t always hit their targets, even when shot at from 10 paces away. Ammunition is reserved, and the singularity of a shot resonates through the theater like a cannon. It’s a highly engrossing sequence. And violent, too.

Michael Kamen provides a satisfactory, albeit at times generic, western score that didn’t leave me craving the album. It also didn’t stand out much in the film, which worked in its favor. I can see why Basil Poledouris left the project; it’s a rather dark film, but not as dark as Unforgiven. Robert Duvall does an excellent job, and I would not be surprised to see an Oscar push for his performance.

Open Range is a very traditional western, and is worth checking out on the big screen because of the excellent images, fine performances, and 20 minutes of trailers. (Kidding about that last one.)