Open Range

release year: 2003
genre: Western
viewing setting: home DVD, 2/3/04

synopsis: A couple of tough cattle-herders must fight back when a greedy businessman pushes them.

impressions: Good entertaining action western marred to a minor extent by slow pacing. It's kind of interesting actually - basically this movie is all about one gunfight and the events leading up to it, yet it manages to stretch that out over two and a half hours. The costumes, sets, and dialogue seemed very authentic, and the gunfights were probably realistic - total chaos, and won by those who have the nerve to stand amidst flying bullets and pick their targets. As my friend Corvis said when he advised me to watch this movie, it was nice to see good guys who took the fight to the bad guys, instead of waiting around.

things to watch for: Naturally, the gunfight at the end.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A little dog being swept away by a rainwater-induced flood.

acting: Kevin Costner is kind of detached, yet believeable as a cattleman with a dark past. Robert Duvall made a very good older, wiser mentor-type, yet didn't back down from any threat or fight. Annette Bening plays a competent, fearless older doctor-woman who takes an interest in Costner. Michael Gambon (who will be Dumbledore in the 3rd harry Potter movie) is good as the evil ruler of the town.

final word: Slow at times, but overall a good western with plenty of action and characterization.

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