…that formed the basis of the Odd or Even Blogathon, hosted by RealWeegieMidget Reviews and Taking Up Room. But, njahahahaha, while I was all game to let them decide (fairly, I might add, by coin toss) if I was to write about my odd-yeared or even-yeared movie, I had come up with my own little twist. You see, I simply gave them “O and 2003” for the movie made in an odd year and “B ” for my choice of movie made in an even year. The coin was tossed…Open Range (2003) it was. Yaaaay! Had been wanting to re-watch that movie for a while.
Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall), together with his three loyal hands Charley Waite (Kevin Costner), Mose (Abraham Benrubi) and Button (Diego Luna), is driving his cattle across the great open plains. Out of necessity, some supplies are required and Mose is sent to the closest town. When Mose doesn’t come back after 2 days, Boss and Charley head on into town to see what’s happened (they know something is wrong because Mose is a gentle soul, just like the group’s loyal dog Tig). Finding Mose in jail brings them their first encounter with disgraceful Sheriff Poole (James Russo, who is always so brilliant as the bad guy in westerns (ok, fine, I’ve only ever seen him in westerns)) and Denton Baxter (Michael Gambon). They had been waiting for Boss to come on through because Baxter, a rich land baron who rules the town with his group of thugs and of course Sheriff Poole, dislikes “free grazers” or, open range cattlemen, a threat to his own stock. This sets the stage for many further encounters which, of course, come to a blasting climax.
Kevin Costner directs this movie and I must admit, I really enjoy his works. Be it in front of or behind the camera. He brings with him a sense of calmness but this is not to be confused with boring as Open Range is nothing like that. It is about men who want to move forwards with their life because the past wasn’t something to be proud of. Of men who just can’t walk away when their friends and lives (and livelihoods) are threatened. And about not simply moving aside for those who feel they are better, more powerful just because of their supposed status and wealth. About dreams and missed opportunities. And living. So, while this western doesn’t start with gun-fight after gun-fight after gun-fight but rather a character study and introduction to these men and why they have such utter respect for each other, the end becomes more powerful because they are pushed back into what they once were (and were trying to forget). Throughout the movie we are left wondering how each situation will develop.
The scenery is stunning and, well, need I mention the acting? Robert Duvall is always a pleasure to watch. I especially like him in these “mentor”* roles where, without trying he earns utter respect from those around him, including me, the viewer. I admire how he handles situations, thinks things through and says it how it is when warranted. Kevin Costner is perfect as Charley with that calm demeanor (most of the time) yet one can see the internal battles going on. In fact, the casting here is absolutely perfect – those actors already mentioned are complemented by Annette Bening, Michael Jeter, Dean McDermott and many more.
*By the way, my “even” year choice for this was Broken Trail (2006) and coincidentally also starts Robert Duvall in a similar role. Another recommended movie to watch if you haven’t done so already.
So glad I picked this as one of my choices and that Gill’s hubby tossed the coin. Watching this was long overdue. Head on over to RealWeegieMidget Reviews or Taking Up Room for more entries to this wonderful Blogathon. Gill, Rebecca, thanks for hosting. It has been great fun!