Friday, July 31, 2015

Open Range (2003)

     "Man's got a right to protect his property and his life, and we ain't lettin' no rancher or his lawman take either."   ~ Boss Spearman

     My mama and daddy had seen this movie several years ago, before I was interested in cowboys and cattle drives (and before I was allowed to watch it, since it is very violent.) I remember my mom saying that it wasn't too impressive, and that it made her think that Kevin Costner had felt left out because he wasn't in Lonesome Dove. ;-) For a while I had no interest in watching it myself, because, well... it was a grown-ups movie. A western. Blahhhh.

     Buuuut...years happened, and I got older, and those turned out to be the very reasons I ended up wanting to watch it. Oh, plus Robert Duvall. Obviously.

      I watched this one summer night with my mom; daddy hadn't come in from working yet, my older sister was at a college class, and my younger sister had just called to say she was sleeping over at my cousins' house, so I said to Mama, "Well, it looks like it's just you and me and Kevin Costner." Mama said, "That doesn't sound too bad." :-D

     Basically, Open Range  is the result of Kevin Costner feeling left out that he didn't get to be in Lonesome Dove, how he dragged Robert Duvall into making another cattle drive movie with him (Robert Duvall, of course, went along with it because he's nice like that,) and rounded up a herd of cattle and some supporting actors to try and make an epic cattle-drive western so he could show off his horse-riding skills and wear a big cowboy hat, because he never got to wear one in Dances With Wolves.

     At least, that's my version. : ) No, seriously, Open Range is a pretty good movie in its own right. It's not exactly epic. I found it a tiny bit boring. But it's pretty good.

     I'm not too good at explaining storylines, so here's a synopsis I found on IMDB (in case you want to know):

     Boss Spearman, Charley Waite, Mose Harrison and Button freegraze their cattle across the vast prairies of the West, sharing a friendship forged by a steadfast code of honor and living a life unencumbered by civilization. When their wayward herd forces them near the small town of Harmonville, the cowboys encounter a corrupt sheriff and kingpin rancher who govern the territory through fear, tyranny and violence. Boss and Charley find themselves inextricably drawn towards an inevitable showdown, as they are forced to defend the freedom and values of a lifestyle that is all too quickly vanishing. Amidst the turmoil, life suddenly takes an unexpected turn for the loner Charley when he meets the beautiful and warm spirited Sue Barlow, a woman who embraces both his heart and his soul.

     Kevin Costner plays Charley Wait, a quiet, broody cowboy with a less than pleasant past. He was a little too bloodthirsty, but in general I liked Charley all right. He had a tender side to him, and there were even some moments that made me go, "Awwwwww." I couldn't get used to Kevin Costner's name being Charley, though. He seems much more like a Wyatt Earp. :-)

     Boss Spearman is Charley's old friend and fellow trail rider. They've been together for years (almost ten -- "you know what they call that? They call it a decade"), but neither one knows very much about the other's previous life. This isn't one of Robert Duvall's most amazing roles, but he was a joy to watch as usual. He had a few clever little lines, though not as many as I'd hoped. Certainly not like Gus McCrae. :-)

     And of course there has to be a woman, for Kevin.

     Sue Barlow (Annette Bening) is the sister of the doctor who Charley and Boss bring their wounded friends to. (Over and over again, because their friends keep getting hurt.) They think she's the doctor's wife (because DUH, why else would he have a woman living with him), so Charley hides his feelings for her...but then he finds out she's not married, and after breaking her mother's china he leaves with the understanding that if he doesn't get killed (the chances are slim), he's going to come back for her.

     I actually really liked Sue. She had grit. She could take care of herself and anyone else who needed taking care of, and she wasn't afraid of taking chances to protect people she cared about. I also loved her dresses. She wore her hair down the whole time, though, which mildly bothered me.

      The evil rancher who wreaks havoc on Boss and Charley's herd is played, surprisingly, by Michael Gambon. What?! Michael Gambon as a bad guy? How is that even possible? I wouldn't have thought it was, but oh my goodness, he was brutal. Ugh. And his marshal friend there was pretty nasty too. The marshal was played by James Russo, who plays Capt. Billy Fender in Broken Trail, so I pretty much already hated him just for that.

     There's a lot of shooting in this movie. A lotta lotta shooting. It's rated R for violence, and there's a really long bloody gunfight in the second half of the movie which kind of goes on forever. You could probably even skip the whole gunfight and not miss much of the story. There's some language in the movie, but it's not terrible for a western, and the main characters were for the most part good, morally-upright men. There was the whole revenge/justice thing, which different people will come to different conclusions about. It's definitely an adult movie. (Says the sixteen-year-old girl) ;-D

     The best thing about Open Range for me was seeing two of my favorite actors together in a western. I wasn't terribly impressed with the story, but it was mostly enjoyable to watch. The scenery is stunning. The music is so-so -- pretty good, but not a soundtrack I'm going to be tripping over myself to buy.

     Open Range doesn't make my favorites list, but if you're a western fan and you like Kevin Costner and Bobby Duvall, you'll probably enjoy it.

See, that right there is pretty.


  1. I just re-watched this a couple nights ago myself. It's not a favorite of mine either, but I really enjoy it. (It will never be a favorite because the music is rather lame. If the score was great it probably would be a favorite, but music is too important to me.) I suspect, having first seen it when I was 35, I bring a different set of feelings to it. I would not have liked this movie when I was young. I would have found it boring. But it always sucks me in instead. In fact, when I re-watched and we were approaching the end gunfight, I was thinking, already? I thought this movie was longer. Hee. It has a deliberate pacing to it that I appreciate, almost a more real-time feel as they try to figure out what to do and how to stay alive. I love the things they talk about, their relationship that is so trusting of each other, but so full of holes. I love Kevin Costner, and I really like Charley. I love when Percy reads the letter/instructions from him regarding the china. And I love Boss buying the chocolate, and I love when they exchange their real names. I love Sue as well. I'm not a Robert Duvall fan. I appreciate him, and he never turns in a bad performance, but he's not someone I watch or follow. Diego Luna cracks me up as Button. I love the full color scenery, the beauty of everything in this movie. It's one of the things I've always loved about Kevin Costner... he shows the West in its full beauty, not washed out.

    And wow, yeah. Michael Gambon is SOOOOO nasty in this. And yes, it is quite violent, in that brutal modern way that pulls no punches.

    1. It took awhile for me to get engaged in the story, but I did end up enjoying the movie. Mostly, as I said, because of Bobby Duvall and Kevin Costner. :-)

      I know what you mean about the pacing -- there were times when I got a little impatient because things seemed to be moving so slow, but I get why they did it that way. There was that one night, though, that seemed to drag on forever!

      I LOVE that part where Percy reads the letter!!!! My favorite part. And when Boss buys the cigars and chocolate -- just adorable. It certainly is a beautifully made movie.

  2. Hmm. I wonder...

    (Wait, haha, did they actually make this because Kevin Costner felt left out?? ;-P)

    So, good but not great is the verdict? P'raps I'll watch it eventually, we'll see...I do definitely want to see more of Bobby's movies...:D

    "I guess it's just you and me and Kevin Costner."--Hahahaha. That's awesome:D

    1. Haha. That's just what my mom said. At times it seems a little that way. ;-P

      Yeah, it was good -- but not AMAZING. Worth watching, though, if you like Bobby. :-)

      Heehee! Mommy and me are Kevin fans. :-)

  3. Neither Kevin Costner nor Robert Duvall are people I will watch a movie for, as in, I won't watch a movie only because they're in it -- but this is also a western, so I've been wanting to see it for a while for that reason. One of these days, I'll get to it!

    1. I just can't fathom that anyone would not love Robert Duvall. ;-P But okay! Yeah, it's pretty good, but there are lots of newer westerns that are better.

    2. I don't dislike him, I just don't love him, you know? But I can see how he would be lovable.


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