A/V Room









Open Range - US and reader reaction

Story by: Jack Foley

IndieLondon has fans all over the place, it seems...

Following our round-up of the US critical reaction to Kevin Costner's latest western, Open Range, a film buff from the States got in touch to rave about it.

Here is what Bill Hodges, a Movie Fan, from Santa Clara, CA, USA had to say....

You guys are in for a treat. Open Range is a great, old-fashioned
Western. Kevin Costner knows
Westerns, and Robert Duvall gives an Oscar-worthy Best Actor performance.
The film spends time to develop the two characters, Charly Waite (Costner) and Boss Spearman (Duvall), so by the time the best showdown shootout ever filmed (better than the Wild Bunch), you care for the lives of these two characters.
Costner's best direction since Dances... and might garner him an Oscar nod for Best Director. If you like the pure Western genre, then
this film is a must-see.

Thanks, Bill, for getting in touch!

POSTED EARLIER: IT'S been a long time since Kevin Costner has been given an easy ride by the critics, yet Open Range, his latest directorial adventure, looks to have found the actor back on Dances With Wolves form.

The film is the story of Charley Waite (Costner), and Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall), two old school cowboys, who are forced to take on a corrupt sherriff (James Russo) and kingpin rancher (Michael Gambon), when their wayward herd forces them near the small town of Harmonville.

Ebert and Roeper referred to the film as 'one of the finest Westerns since Unforgiven' - which is no small praise indeed.

Yet the sentiment was echoed by many. wrote that 'Costner fans, fans of Westerns, and adults looking for entertainment free of special effects should find something to cheer about in this ode to a bygone era', while Slant Magazine opined that 'it also helps that Costner doesn’t allow the hurt inflicted against his oppressed free grazers to approach the wearisome political correctness of his Dances With Wolves'.

And Entertainment Weekly was also favourable, noting that 'Costner shows an exacting instinct for how to build a shoot-'em-up from the ground up'.

The Chicago Sun-Times, meanwhile, noted that Open Range is 'an imperfect but deeply involving and beautifully made Western', while the New York Post found it 'solidly crafted and entertaining', awarding it three out of four.


The San Francisco Examiner opined that 'the final shootout belongs in the Western pantheon with the poetic, anti-heroic shootouts in Anthony Mann's The Far Country and Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller'.

And LA Weekly found that it was 'a Western without irony or innovation, without any of the overt efforts toward 'revisionism' we've come to expect even from Eastwood'.

The San Jose Mercury News continues the positive trend, describing it as 'a sincere, big-hearted attempt to revive the classic westerns of John Ford and Howard Hawks, Open Range is more good than bad'.

While Variety wrote that it is 'an intensely scenic, refreshingly humanistic oater that dares to be sincere and open-hearted'.

The Los Angeles Times declared that 'Kevin Knows Westerns', while the New York Observer felt that it is 'a juicy, character-driven western with a real plot that spins a hypnotic narrative'. referred to it as 'a flashback to both the great American western and a form of storytelling where gunshots were not an immediate reaction but a methodical inevitability'.

One Guy's Opinion, meanwhile, noted that 'if you like old-fashioned westerns filled with grandiose landscapes and even more extraordinary acts of heroism, this movie's for you'.

Movie Navigator, meanwhile, commented that 'Kevin Costner makes Westerns as good as he does baseball films, and Open Range is no exception'.

And Film Hobbit wrote that it 'fits Costner's on screen sensibilities like a glove, making him seem as if he were born to play a craggy faced cowboy and nothing else'.

There were the odd criticisms, from the likes of, which wrote that 'Costner has noble intentions, but he only bores us with them', and from the New York Times, which dismissed it as 'a ponderous drag'.

While Salon opined that 'the movie is slow, ponderous, weighed down by Costner's naked attempts to make it a classic', and the San Francisco Chronicle felt that it 'is a Western in which the carts pull the horses'.

But the Washington Post described it as 'the year's first serious contender for big prizes', and the Boston Globe referred to it as 'a patient, suspenseful exercise in genre craftsmanship'.

CNN concludes this round-up, however, by noting that 'Open Range is not in the same league with Dances, but this compelling drama stands on its own as one of the best films of the Summer'.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z