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Open Range

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Open Range

Starring: Kevin Costner, Annette Bening
Director: Kevin Costner
Rated: R
RunTime: 135 Minutes
Release Date: August 2003
Genres: Western, Action, Drama


*Also starring: Robert Duvall, Abraham Benrubi, Alexis Cerkiewicz, Lorette Clow, James Russo, Patricia Stutz, Rod Wilson, Michael Gambon, Michael Jeter, Diego Luna, Dean McDermott



Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

If you're a Western genre fan, lasso a couple of tickets for this nostalgic oater. Charlie Waite (Kevin Costner) and Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) have been saddle partners for a decade, herding cattle on the open prairie. But it's 1882, and ornery ranchers object to old-fashioned "freegrazers" like them and their two loyal cowhands, Button (Diego Luna of "Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Mose (Abraham Benrubi of "E.R."). A bad guy (Michael Gambon) who controls the town of Harmonville is determined not only to drive them off the land but to have his thugs kill them. "Freegrazers," he says, "are worse than the Indians." A confrontation is inevitable.

Oscar-winning director Kevin Costner ("Dances With Wolves") made "Silverado," his first Western, back in 1985. While it also explored the ethic of scruffy, hard-bitten loners banding together to battle corruption and evil (the antagonist was also named Baxter), it did not have the depth and character development of Craig Storper's screenplay, based on "The Open Range Men" by Lauran Paine. This time, both Spearman and Waite would rather bury their respective pasts than reveal them. It's all about justice coming to terms with the brutality and violence of frontier life. And the fact that the pivotal woman (Annette Bening) is mature, not a bare-midriff twentysomething bopping a guy old enough to be her father, is a refreshing change and admirably realistic for the love interest in this revisionist Western. On the other hand, Costner's pace is plodding, making one grow weary as the story slowly unfolds, despite James Munro's stunning cinematography. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Open Range" is a simplistic, understated 8, evoking memories of "Shane," "High Noon" and "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral."

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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