OPEN RANGE (USA, 2003) ****
Distributor: Winchester Film Distribution; Production Company: Touchstone Pictures / Cobalt Media Group / Beacon Pictures / Tig Productions; Release Date: 11 August 2003 (USA), 19 March 2004 (UK); Filming Dates: 17 June 2002 – 8 September 2002; Running Time: 139m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS; Film Format: 35 mm (anamorphic) (Kodak Vision 2383); Film Process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Super 35 (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: 12.
Director: Kevin Costner; Writer: Craig Storper (based on the novel “The Open Range Men” by Lauran Paine); Executive Producer: Armyan Bernstein, Craig Storper; Producer: Kevin Costner, Jake Eberts, David Valdes; Director of Photography: J. Michael Muro; Music Composer: Michael Kamen; Film Editor: Michael J. Duthie, Miklos Wright; Casting Director: Mindy Marin; Production Designer: Gae S. Buckley; Art Director: Gary Myers; Set Decorator: Mary-Lou Storey; Costumes: John Bloomfield; Make-up: Pearl Louie, Jon C. White; Sound: Barney Cabral.
Cast: Robert Duvall (Boss Spearman), Kevin Costner (Charley Waite), Annette Bening (Sue Barlow), Michael Gambon (Denton Baxter), Michael Jeter (Percy), Diego Luna (Button), James Russo (Sheriff Poole), Abraham Benrubi (Mose), Dean McDermott (Doc Barlow), Kim Coates (Butler), Herb Kohler (Cafe Man), Peter MacNeill (Mack), Cliff Saunders (Ralph), Patricia Stutz (Ralph’s Wife (as Pat Stutz)), Julian Richings (Wylie), Ian Tracey (Tom), Rod Wilson (Gus), Diego Diablo Del Mar (Ballester (as Diego Del Mar)), Patricia Benedict (Cafe Woman), Tim Koetting (Bartender Bill).
Synopsis: A former gunslinger is forced to take up arms again when he and his cattle crew are threatened by a corrupt lawman.
Comment: Excellent Western in the traditional format directed by Costner at a leisurely pace until the gunfight finale, one of the best-ever seen in the genre. Duvall and Costner are outstanding as free-grazers helped by young Luna and Benrubi. When they stray onto rancher Gambon’s land the battle lines are drawn. Bening plays the town doctor’s sister who falls for the awkward Costner in a romantic sub-plot. Whilst taking its time to come to the boil, the film explores the complex character motivations of Costner’s gunslinger history and Duvall’s aspirations to put down roots years after the death of his wife and daughter. Gambon is served less well by the script and his Irish rancher is a little two-dimensional. However, the film reaches an explosive finale as the two factions shoot it out on the town streets. The segment is superbly shot and is a satisfying conclusion to one of the best Westerns since the genre’s heyday.
OPEN RANGE (USA, 2003) ****