Open Range (2003)
A free-grazing duo (Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall) must bear arms in order to protect themselves from a crooked rancher (Michael Gambon), who has a local town under his heal.
In plot, very similar to Anthony Mann’s The Far Country (1954). This is also a film which much like Costner’s other movies pits the goodness of rural life against the immoral money-hungry world of ‘the town’. It’s a great movie to look at and Duvall and Costner play their roles perfectly; particularly Duvall who gives one of the best performances of his career as the father-figure, “Boss”. Gambon’s over- the-top villain is just what’s required to make the dynamic between the three very interesting indeed.
So, you may ask what sets this western apart from others? Well, for me it’s the pure grittiness of the shoot-out sequences; there are no clean-cut deaths or elegantly shot gunfights that could pass for a ballet – Costner ensures that each shoot-out is as realistic as can be and it’s bloody hard to watch at times – I haven’t seen it done this well since “Unforgiven” (1992).
Who would like this? Well, anyone who likes pretty scenery, a good old-fashioned yarn and more than a generous spattering of vintage if slightly hammy performances.
I liked this, a lot.
hotdog rating: 8/10