Open Range

Film

Westerns

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Costner's fourth notable Western has more in common with the troubled deliberations of Wyatt Earp than that prairie-tale Rousseau, Dances with Wolves. Ceding top billing, but not the girl, to Duvall's seen-there, been-that cattle-driver, 'Boss', Costner's Charley Waite hides bad dreams yet a good soul under his Stetson. When despotic rancher Baxter (Gambon) takes violent exception to these free-grazers, Charley and Boss are compelled to take their stand, town folk making scarce as the retributors set to it. Handsomely mounted, as you would expect, Open Range has a good deal to commend it. Sorting the cowboys from the cattlemen, Costner and screenwriter Craig Storpor are shrewd enough to see evasion in the lure of those wide open spaces. Riding together ten years, these silent men know next to nothing about each other, not even Boss's real name. That doesn't invalidate their friendship, but it does suggest how Charley might need to seek habilitation from Bening's girl named Sue (before the movie's through he'll be ordering up fine china). Such niceties sit awkward with the extended and genuinely gripping bloodletting which dominates the film's run-in. New men, Old West, you might say. Marred by hackneyed writing and Costner's egregious sentimental streak - it's hard to trust a director more moved by the death of a mutt than the fate of a man - this sober, enjoyable movie falls well shy of greatness, but it's still a welcome reminder of an unfashionable genre in its maturity. (Based on The Open Range Men by Lauren Paine.) TCh.

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Leona Luk

Opening with lots of pastoral shots, this tries very hard to show the allure of the "free grazer" lifestyle. There is little indication of a lonely life, and while the men seem to know little about each other, they also seem eager to discuss their feelings. The film's pace begins to pick up when we learn of the tension between free grazers and land owners, and this is also when the violence begins. The last half hour or so is easily the best, when we see the preparation for battle, the good-byes, and the uneasy silences between gunshots. By the end it all turns out alright, although who would guess otherwise?

Leona Luk

Opening with lots of pastoral shots, this tries very hard to show the allure of the "free grazer" lifestyle. There is little indication of a lonely life, and while the men seem to know little about each other, they also seem eager to discuss their feelings. The film's pace begins to pick up when we learn of the tension between free grazers and land owners, and this is also when the violence begins. The last half hour or so is easily the best, when we see the preparation for battle, the good-byes, and the uneasy silences between gunshots. By the end it all turns out alright, although who would guess otherwise?