For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Westerns, here’s a review of Open Range (2003) by Catherine of Thoughts All Sorts Thanks again to Catherine of Thoughts All Sorts for choosing this month’s genre. Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Sean of SeanMunger.com We will be reviewing our favorite Nautical Film. “Loosely defined […]
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Without a doubt worthy of Grandeur status…Open Range (2003). Directed by Kevin Costner, he somehow always manages to bring across human emotions and desires, the conflict between right and wrong.
We are introduced to Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) and his hands Charley Waite (Kevin Costner), Mose (Abraham Benrubi) and Button (Diego Luna) as they move their open range grazing cattle over land. Sending Mose into a town for supplies, local land and cattle owner Denton Baxter (Michael Gambon) uses this as an opportunity to “voice” his dislike of free grazers together with corrupt Sheriff Poole (James Russo). What they don’t count on is Boss and Charley not putting up with this sort of treatment and that Boss values his men as more than just hands working for wages. Hence starts the gradual build-up to a climactic showdown. But what a fantastic build-up it is. It takes its time where needed, but at just the right pace. We are treated to the respectful relationships between boss and hands, friends, strangers, townsfolk and even their beloved dog. Dilemmas are weighed up and at the same time supplemented with some insight into the various characters. Finally, we see people stand up for their rights because there is a point where enough is enough. And sometimes you just need one or two people with some courage to start change. By this time the pace will have gone up a few notches without you even realising it got there. You’ll also be treated as an intelligent viewer in getting a final shootout where the victims are not only the “baddies”…they’re the onlookers, the horses, the protagonists. So…a more realistic outcome of such massive showdowns.
Coming in at just over two hours, you never notice the length. What you will notice is what a great leader Boss is (if only we had more of those today). And what kind of man Charley is (we probably need more of those too). He’s not proud of his past yet we sympathise with him, hoping for him to find a new path. While he’s not good with words, he knows what should be done, not for the good of himself, but of people as a whole.
So…wonderful, wonderful Western. One of my favourites. One of those for the collection.