Tuesday 18th January 2022

Open Range (12A)
Directed by: Kevin Costner
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
"I sure wish they'd hurry up and invent chairs"
"I sure wish they'd hurry up and invent chairs"

Kevin Costner has had a somewhat chequered career in the movie industry during his time as an actor and a director. Of the many films he has starred in, several stand out as being memorable (No Way Out, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, JFK) but since his directorial debut with Dances With Wolves, he's struggled to come up with the goods behind the camera. So will his fourth film manage to recreate the success of his first?

Costner has returned to the Western genre and hired a great cast including Robert Duvall (The Godfather Trilogy), Annette Bening (American Beauty), Michael Gambon (Gosford Park) and, of course, himself.

Costner and Duvall play two roaming cowboys, who drive their cattle around the rolling hills of the West, "free grazing" on the land. However, while this is perfectly legal, one local landowner takes a dislike to the practice, because he feels his cattle should be the only ones grazing on the land. The ruthless landowner (Gambon) decides not only to chase Duvall and his men off the land, but also kill them and steal their cattle while he's at it. And so the scene is set for a classic The Seven Samurai style confrontation, of two honest and loyal men defending themselves against a marauding pack of scoundrels.

Thankfully, this film is fairly short in comparison to Costner's other directorial marathons, and although the pace of the film is fairly slow, it does build the tension effectively. At its heart it's not an original story and the characters have been drawn before, but at least this film is entertaining, enjoyable and well written. If you're a fan of the genre, then this is probably worth seeing, but it's really only a retelling of an already well-worn story.

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Length: 139 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 19th March 2004

Top Five Rating: 70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0% (70.0%)
User Rating: 96.0%96.0%96.0%96.0%96.0%96.0%96.0%96.0%96.0%96.0% (96.0%)

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