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Open Range
2 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Kevin Costner

Written By:
Lauran Paine, Craig Storper

Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, Michael Gambon, Michael Jeter, Diego Luna, James Russo, Abraham Benrubi, Kim Coates, Peter MacNeill, Cliff Saunders, Julian Richings, Dean McDermott, Herb Kohler, Patricia Stutz

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Open Range (2003)
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Movie Review by Ash
October 24th, 2006

Why doesn't Costner direct more films?

Review originally written 8/16/03

I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Costner. But it just so happens, that the guy seems to pick really good movies to be in, so I tend to see most of the films he's in. Sometimes, I even really like him in the role. But never before, have I liked Kevin Costner as much as I like him in this film. People may argue whether this is his best performance. I'm only stating that this is his most charismatic.

When Dances With Wolves came out so many years before, I thought maybe Costner had found his nitch; as a director. In that film, it was clear that he succeeded more in that role then as an actor. Open Range is different. The directing isn't as good as Costner's performance. Actually, unlike Dances With Wolves, the directing is one of the weaker parts of it. However, the story is so grand and beautifully shot with great and memorable performances by everyone that you hardly care.

Costner's weakness as a director might actually be a benefit to this film, because it seems as if the light handed directing let's the characters shine through like the rays of the sun through parting clouds. You can't help but thoroughly love most of the characters in this film, especially the films two main characters: Boss Spearman (Duvall) and Charlie White (Costner). Together, Costner and Duvall create such vivid three-diminsional characters with perfect chemistry.

Another wonderful aspect of the film is how it doens't rush the audience to the conflict like is all too typical in Hollywood films these days. It's so refreshing to be able to sit back and see TRUE character development. In this sense, it's very much like Dances With Wolves, but audiences with patience should appreciate it.

While it's not the masterpiece that Unforgiven is, the film certainly is grand and would certainly be a contender for best picture were the film year to end today, but it's not without it's flaws. The first half of the film is slow, but it's so elegently crafted that one could hardly call it a flaw. The second half explodes like a stick of dynamite in your face after watching the long fuse finally burn down. But here the film get's sloppy. The romance (if you could call it that) between two of the main characters isn't really forced. It's stated. Two characters fall in love because well... they do. It's not that it's unbelievable, but you do feel very much like you missed several scenes that explored this. The climactic gunfight is nice and realistic, but much of the chaos seems more because of the directors inability to capture it rather than to truly show the chaos of what a gunfight like this would likely be like. Not that either of these gripes or really bad, but they are enough to keep a great film from being a really great film. If you ever liked westerns, they don't get much better than this.

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