Boss Blue Bonnet
Open Range
Review by Ross Anthony

Open Range Though a bit slow at the outset, you may not mind. There's a great deal of big sky, purple mountains and overall rich country scenery to sweeten the eye. Robert Duvall lassos his role as the rickety old free-grazing cowboy. He's a pleasure; you'll love his performance. Kevin's also enjoyable as the toughened gun-hand / turned all-introspective: a good character. All other performances range (no pun intended) from barely fair to midland. Some feigned foreign accents strain & wane. Bening, who deserved an Oscar for "American Beauty," is really quite unimpressive here. Of course, she and Kevin catch each other's eyes, in visual and music, sometimes comically cliché.

In fact, the film has many moments that are sure to spark a chuckle from its audiences -- some squarely intentional (bravo), some not so intentional (but still fun anyway). With a shoot-out inevitable after the first twenty minutes of film, the production takes an hour and a half to lead up to serious gunfire. You'll have to induce an extra dose of suspension of disbelief to accept that a bunch of well-armed angry cowboys can be that patient. Lastly, adaptation from book to film has left a few holes.

Still, the dialogue is strong and rings authentic. Cinematography sprawling, shoot out starkly believable (with a few exceptions), and Duvall's big cantankerous-hearted performance. And yes, it's refreshing to see an old fashioned Western on the big screen.

  • Open Range. Copyright © 2003.
  • Starring Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening. Directed by Kevin Costner.
  • Screenplay by Craig Storper.
  • Based on the novel The Open Range Men by Lauran Paine.
  • Produced by David Valdes, Kevin Costner, Jake Eberts at Touchstone/TIG/Cobalt.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:01:36 PDT