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Overall Rating
3.94

Awesome: 33.06%
Worth A Look45.97%
Average: 6.45%
Pretty Bad: 11.29%
Total Crap: 3.23%

8 reviews, 76 user ratings


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Open Range
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by Brian McKay

"Deep Cowboy Thoughts, by Kevin Costner"
2 stars

Kevin, Bro. It's over. Dude, you tried. You had a good run, and even managed to pull out a few winners. But you're played. Just . . . utterly . . . spent. Oh, it's not that your acting was BAD or anything. On the contrary, you and the cast carried yourselves quite well. I would have probably found this a very good movie, if I had never seen a western before in my life. However, I've pretty much seen them all, and OPEN RANGE doesn't compare to most.

It's really hard for me to bash this movie, because I really wanted to like it. It seemed to have all the elements from which a good Western could be cobbled together; A grizzled Costner, looking tough and ready to slap iron. The classic Western template of a gang of evil Cattlemen vs. a few good honest Cowboys. For Christ's sake, it even had Robert Duvall as the tough but loveable mentor cowboy, playing the exact same damn awesome role he did in Lonesome Dove over a decade ago, and not looking a day older.

But does Costner think that none of us have ever seen a Western before? Because he approached this one with a script so plump and bloated with cliches that he's apparently seen them all. Every damn idea in this film has been done. Every line of dialogue sounds borrowed from somewhere else, lacking a shred of true conviction or even a hint that originality was ever even attempted. As I ticked off the litany of films that had done a particular character or subplot or dialogue exchange first (and done it much better), I begin to realize something. Costner isn't just recycling all those cliche's out of laziness to make a quick and easy buck. My God, he actually believes that this is some kind of grand Opus masterpiece (a fellow critic pointed out that this is his attempt to make his own version of Unforgiven - We like you okay, Kev, but you're no Clint). His performance is so earnest, he really believes that this is going to be some great contribution to the genre.

But the more he tried to build these characters up (especially the rather forced romance between Costner and Anette Bening), the less I could bring myself to give a damn about any of them. Did you learn nothing from Wyatt Earp? Learn to EDIT, man!

But I will say this - the film does have one hell of a good shootout at the end (even if it is the only one), and for that it recieves the redemption of one extra star. But Lord, does he make you wait for it - and when it's all over, the movie KEEPS GOING. Jesus Christ, I would rather sit through the last twenty minutes of A.I. and The Return of the King back to back rather than ever see this drawn out fawning and yammering again. I finally realized, "Hey, they're not going to kill anyone else. WHY AM I STILL WATCHING THIS?" (my friends had already gone out to the patio to smoke, that's how completely non-engaged they were).

You know what? I take back what I said at the beginning of this review. God Bless you, Kevin Costner. You keep doing what you do. Someone out there has to keep making simple, honest entertainment for simple, honest folks. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to grab a sixer and a blunt and watch THE OUTLAW JOSEY MOTHERFUCKIN' WALES

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8074&reviewer=258
originally posted: 03/13/04 20:03:01
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/16/12 John Great scenery and story, overlong gunfight. 5 stars
2/20/11 Ark Damned decent, didn't suck like most of Costner's other crap! 4 stars
10/11/10 ACTION MOVIE FAN SLOW TALKY TYPICALLY DULL POST 2000 WESTERN 2 stars
5/05/09 the dork knight There Will Be Duvall. 5 stars
12/06/08 Michelle Loved it..thats for sticking with it thorough the battles Kevin! 4 stars
11/23/08 Goodman not the epic that Kevin hoped for 3 stars
11/21/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
5/23/08 PAUL SHORTT A SINCERE, BIG-HEARTED ATTEMPT TO REVIVE THE CLASSIC WESTERNS OF JOHN FORD & HOWARD HAWKS 3 stars
6/13/07 al smith amazing the best gun fight ever.costner is a great director 5 stars
2/23/07 Weblynx I loved this , great actors 5 stars
2/13/07 R.W.Welch Above average oater, despite overblown gunfight. Duvall is aces. 4 stars
6/25/06 MP Bartley The Untouchables replanted to the old west. That is a good thing by the way. 5 stars
3/12/06 daveyt good cinematography, looked and felt real. Duvall excellent... 4 stars
1/08/06 Daveman Engaging drama, beautiful photography, unusually good performance from Costner of all peopl 4 stars
11/12/05 Danielle Cordova Open Range seems to be a modern day western. Costner did a trimendous job. I watch 24/7 5 stars
10/16/05 Quigley the end gunfight was way overrated and not cool. costner was lame, but duvall redeemed all. 3 stars
10/08/05 Jonathon Holmes one of the 10 best films of the year 5 stars
9/25/05 David Jones Slow in the right way. 4 stars
9/09/05 Tom Burns An enjoyable western. 4 stars
8/26/05 Michael Good Movie 5 stars
8/03/05 ALDO Poorly written disappointment with lots of bullshit backstory dialogue. Best gunfight ever 3 stars
6/03/05 Steve Newman too slow BUT the scenery is breathtaking. I did enjoy it - cut off 30 mins please 3 stars
2/05/05 Carolyn Rathburn Loved it truistic for the time. 5 stars
1/05/05 Lord Jiggy Classic in so many ways...just a few missteps, but the antidote to swill like Van Helsing 5 stars
11/28/04 smilesx the worst video i've seen since red dawn. 1 stars
10/27/04 Carolyn Metz I really enjoy seeing this on the big screen. Love the scenery. 4 stars
9/11/04 Edler A great western. And I really am not a fan of Costner. 5 stars
8/24/04 Stevie Y. A beautiful movie in every respect. A dead-on story line. A sweet, heartwarming romance. 5 stars
8/15/04 dfdea 4 stars for Western Appreciators, 3 stars for the average filmgoer 4 stars
8/07/04 Mike Great movie. 4 stars
8/01/04 DJ Great movie!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
7/17/04 axe westerns are silly no longer, thanks to this one 5 stars
7/11/04 Ingo Unique tone, great actors, albeit a little too long. 4 stars
3/26/04 rojo Best Western since Unforgiven. 5 stars
3/21/04 bruce miller good western...predictable 4 stars
3/21/04 Linda Ellis Great movie! 5 stars
3/18/04 rachel burke it was a little draen out 3 stars
3/15/04 Lord Jiggy Curse me for a moral failure, I really enjoyed this film. It built to an end. 5 stars
3/13/04 Chief Dan George the Third Fuck this. "The Oulaw Josey Wales = The Greatest Goddamn Western ever made" 2 stars
2/28/04 william pathetically inane....clipping my toes are more photogenic and interesting...bad tv series 1 stars
2/24/04 LMW Really wanted to like it but couldn't. . .Mind numbing tedium. . . 1 stars
2/22/04 CARRIE good movie...the humorous parts helped alot 5 stars
2/17/04 jj an outstanding western with excellent sound effects!!! 5 stars
2/16/04 Jack Duvall's performance is fantastic. The script is somewhat ponderous. 4 stars
1/26/04 twodogs Good acting, Good gunfight scene,predictable ending 4 stars
1/22/04 Abe Giesbrecht Honest, and refreshing 5 stars
1/21/04 Betty White Either u love it, in which you look over its flaws, or it leaves u cold. 4 stars
1/20/04 Walter Lorenz Boring, flat and unengaging from beginning to end. Seen it all and better. 3 stars
11/28/03 john a great western with a honest story - the shootout alone is worth the price of admission 5 stars
11/06/03 Green Beret Packers Costner & Bening break new ground; Duvall his usual solid self. 4 stars
10/08/03 Erik Van Sant At last, Costner proves the only way he doesn't suck is when he does a period piece. 5 stars
9/25/03 malcolm 4-star, despite Costner, i got one word for u, KC: inflection! 4 stars
9/19/03 April Malan Wonderful, exciting, great! I loved it, one of the best of the summer. 5 stars
9/18/03 DICK Can't touch Lonsome Dove, but it as real as a western gets 5 stars
9/17/03 William H. Collins Despite the slow start,the movie is well worth the wait. 4 stars
9/11/03 Buck A damn solid Kevin Costner movie. Needs some trimming, but gorgeous and refreshingly simple 4 stars
9/08/03 leper3 meditative, elegaic and powerful 5 stars
9/04/03 KingNeutron Pretty good overall, gun effects were GOOD but film needed more EDITING espec in beginning 4 stars
9/02/03 geo. c. flora beautiful and outstanding 5 stars
9/01/03 Suzanne Paul Zimmerman is an idiot 5 stars
8/26/03 Benita Hume really enjoyed it 4 stars
8/26/03 jean a beautifully filmed,very well -acted movie with many unforgettable scenes 5 stars
8/25/03 Ahnold Took too long getting to action. But still worth look (matinee price only) 4 stars
8/25/03 Desperado Good acting by Duvall and Costner make this movie a cant miss 5 stars
8/24/03 Michael hall I'd clean the cow shit off my boots with the DVD 1 stars
8/24/03 K R Stilwell Loved it! 5 stars
8/23/03 Joe Beautifully done. It's about time Costner had a hit. 4 stars
8/21/03 Jack Bourbon Costner isn't so bad sometimes 4 stars
8/18/03 J. Brande Costner is back with a vengeance with a beautiful, riveting film. Tremendous Duvall 5 stars
8/18/03 Belinda Adams Robert Duvall is brilliant. OSCAR-worthy 5 stars
8/17/03 Ethan Costner in top form! 5 stars
8/17/03 Reese Witherspoon suckzzzzz Good, but loses it in final half hour (and the movie is too long anyway) 3 stars
8/17/03 John Zelk Duvall is incredible. He deserves a BEST ACTOR nomination OSCAR. 5 stars
8/16/03 FlaFan Terrific movie 5 stars
8/16/03 Dr. Bitterpants IGNORE Paul "shorter is better" Zimmerman's pallid review -- this is a great film! 4 stars
8/15/03 James Mathews Costner is back riding high in the saddle. Easily movie of the summer and year to date! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Aug-2003 (R)
  DVD: 20-Jan-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  12-Feb-2004




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