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392 of 415 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gus is back!
For those viewers who fondly remember, and miss, Robert Duvall's role as Augustus McCrae in the 1989 TV miniseries LONESOME DOVE, take heart. Duvall is back in the saddle again as "Boss" Spearman in OPEN RANGE. It's been way too long.
The lead role in this western actually belongs to Kevin Costner, who plays Spearman's trail partner and employee, Charlie...
Published on August 23, 2003 by Joseph Haschka

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Formula Western - Better Than Most
As an actor in westerns, Costner ranks up there with Clint Eastwood, slightly below the Duke, in my mind. "Dances with Wolves" forever earned him that title. The acting in this film is great. But when you boil it all down, it fits the genre of the Western so well that little is left to the imagination. This is not a criticism. This is not bad. It only...
Published on March 8, 2004 by Amazon Customer

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392 of 415 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gus is back!, August 23, 2003
For those viewers who fondly remember, and miss, Robert Duvall's role as Augustus McCrae in the 1989 TV miniseries LONESOME DOVE, take heart. Duvall is back in the saddle again as "Boss" Spearman in OPEN RANGE. It's been way too long.
The lead role in this western actually belongs to Kevin Costner, who plays Spearman's trail partner and employee, Charlie Waite. Boss is a cattleman that practices free-range grazing, i.e. driving his herd from place to place, only staying long enough for the animals to deplete the available food supply. But it's 1882, ranchers are beginning to fence in the West, and freegrazers are an endangered species. So, its no surprise when Charlie and Boss are ordered to take their beeves and get out of Dodge, so to speak, by big time rancher Baxter (Michael Gambon), who also owns the local town and its sheriff. Waite and Spearman are soon backed into a corner when the latter's two other hired hands, Mose (Abraham Benrubi) and Button (Diego Luna), run seriously afoul of Baxter's thugs.
It would be hard to choose between the better performance - Costner or Duvall - both playing characters so strong, self-reliant and silent that neither knows the other's full name. And they've been riding the West together for ten years! Nor does Boss know Charlie's violent history, which included being a Civil War raider, and then a hired gun much like the ones now working for Baxter. When Charlie falls in love with Sue (Annette Bening), the spinster sister of the local sawbones, his guilt over his rough-edged past is a self-imposed handicap that Sue, who sees Waite's inner goodness, must overcome.
Moviegoers accustomed to a steady diet of mindless, FX-laden action thrillers may find the first three-quarters of OPEN RANGE slow going. It's called "character and plot development", an intelligent change of pace. And when the final shoot-out comes, it's perhaps the best ever filmed. While most such western confrontations seem like a choreographed ballet, this one shows them for what they were: relatively short, extremely violent, chaotic, and lacking in fancy gunplay and sharpshooting finesse.
Big Screen westerns are such a rarity nowadays that it's hard to compare this one with any other in recent memory. Though perhaps not as memorable as DANCES WITH WOLVES, this Old West morality play is certainly the best since UNFORGIVEN. Admittedly, we've seen similar plots before: the small homesteader/Big Ranching feud in the classic SHANE, and Big Mining vs. the small prospector in PALE RIDER, Clint Eastwood's transparent re-scripting of the former. However, the acting, cinematography and costuming of OPEN RANGE are excellent. Duvall surely deserves a Best Supporting Actor nomination, and the production as a whole may merit a Best Picture nod. My only complaint lies with the editing, which left in one too many leave-takings between Charlie and Sue, the last being completely superfluous. That said, however, this is a five-star tribute to loyalty, rugged individualism, integrity, and simply doing what's right. I think, sometimes, that Hollywood has forgotten what those qualities are all about.
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163 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OPEN RANGE--A Hopeful Revival For The Western, August 23, 2003
Erik North (San Gabriel, CA USA) - See all my reviews
For all the hits and misses he has had in front of and behind the camera, Kevin Costner never fails to put his money where his mouth is. Such is the case with OPEN RANGE, which I hope will revive that most American of film genres, the Western.
Set in 1882, OPEN RANGE stars Costner and veteran Robert Duvall as cattlemen only trying to drive their cattle across the open prairie of Montana. But they soon run afoul of a ruthless land baron (Michael Gambon) out to rid the land of free-grazers like Duvall and Costner; and to prove his point, Gambon has one of Duvall's men (Abraham Benrubi) killed and another (Diego Luna) seriously wounded. The stage is set for a traditional but classic shoot-out to the finish.
If not on the epic level of Costner's 1990 Oscar-winner DANCES WITH WOLVES, or the standards set by people like Clint Eastwood, John Ford, Howard Hawks, or Sam Peckinpah, OPEN RANGE nevertheless demonstrates Costner's comfortability with the Western. His is a determined performance, and his direction is equally fine, with stunning photography, done on location in southern Canada, and a fine Michael Kamen score. Gambon is about as nasty a villain as there has been in any film in recent times, and James Russo does his natural evil best as a half-crazed town sheriff. It is Duvall, a veteran of many westerns (TRUE GRIT; LAWMAN), however, who really shines, as is typical of this kind of caliber actor. Always offering some wry advice but ready to take retaliation for having been wronged, Duvall is a tower of strength. Annette Benning also does good work as the town doctor's sister, who also becomes Costner's love interest.
The Western genre has not run out of stories or ideas, and never will; it just needs people of integrity like Costner to keep it going. OPEN RANGE proves that in spades.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Open Range" is a modern "Classic" Western, July 26, 2005
This review is from: Open Range (DVD)
As a long time fan of western movies, I eagerly look forward to new western releases. When I viewed the trailer for "Open Range", and saw that it had Robert Duval and Kevin Costner, I had very high hopes, as both actors have 5-star classic western movies under their belts (Lonesome Dove, and Dances With Wolves respectively). I am more than pleased that "Open Range" continues the tradition of quality modern western fare. I rank this movie in my all-time 25 westerns list. "Open Range" pleases with good character development, an interesting plot with a huge shoot-out, excellent acting, and a love story (for the wives and girlfriends of the men who primarily make up the western movie-going crowd!)

The movie boasts beautiful scenery shots that literally take your breath away, although these are best appreciated on the big screen of a movie theatre than one's tv set. Even so, the cinematography is gorgeous and the western town of Harmonville is accurately reconstructed as a typical isolated range town.

What makes this film is the acting of Duval and Costner. Both are superb in their respective roles, Duval as an aging but rugged cattleman and Costner his younger able partner. There is no better crusty "cowboy" than Duval, who reprises some of the same acting mannerisms of his classic character Agustus McCrae (from Lonesome Dove). Costner is as visually perfect as a cowbay can be, with his long lean body, and his "matter of fact" acting style. The two make this movie work.

The plot unfolds rather slowly, after all, this is nearly a 3-hour movie. Adequate time is spent developing the characters, and there is enough tension/conflict to keep the movie rolling along without it bogging down. In a nutshell, Duval and Costner's two cowhands and small cattle herd are threatened by a powerful cattlebaron, who views "freegrazers" (those men who freely graze their cattle on the open plains) as nothing more than varmints or trespassers when they skirt his town. The conflict escalates quickly and leads to a final wild main-street showdown shootout. There is so much action from so many different guns, that it is hard to follow the intense action (which is probably more accurate in a shootout than just one or two shots. In this shootout, people actually miss their target (!), which I liked).

Annette Benning is Costner's fledgling love interest. Without make-up, Benning still makes a stunning portrait as the middle-aged, never-married sister of the town's doctor. She is excellent in her role, and her acting skill makes her a true "co-star" in this male dominated film. The love story between Costner and Benning is perhaps the weakest link in this film, as they go from being strangers to being engaged in the span of just 2 days! Even so, the budding awkward relationship between the two is intriguing.

On the down side, this movie is not suitable for children due to the gunfighting and considerable (but appropriate in an adult context) cursing.

This is as good as modern westerns get. It is engrossing, has a realistic plot, and the performances of the principal actors give this movie its true charm. Throw in the breath-taking visuals, and you have a good night's entertainment. I only wish Costner and Duval had made more westerns together.

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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Reasons Why I Love This Film, April 19, 2006
Craig Connell (Lockport, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Open Range (DVD)
They don't westerns that much anymore, at least on the big screen. People in the Baby Boomer generation grew up with them on television. Western films were big at the box office in several decades, too. Well, at least Kevin Costner must have a heart for the genre as he been involved with several major western productions in the last 15 years, this the latest.

The best thing I can say about this film right out front is that it may be the best western I've ever watched. I can't give it higher praise than that! Since I've seen so many, for so long, it's especially high praise.

I make this bold statement because of the following:

1 - Fantastic scenery and beautiful cinematography. If it looks spectacular on my 24-inch flat-screen, I can't imagine how awesome it would be a big plasma set.

2 - Characters you really care about, led by three actors who almost always give solid performances: Robert Duvall (the best in here), Costner and Annette Bening. Duvall, by the way, gives one of the best short "speeches" I've ever witnessed in a movie. It was nice to see Bening actually play a wholesome woman for a change. The two men who are out on the range with Duvall and Costner also were excellent.

3 - Just the right amount of action. When the action does occur, such as gunfire, the sound is incredible. This might be one of the best movies, audibly-speaking, I've ever heard, which is another reason for ranking it Number One. There are no lulls but not a ton of action, either.

4 - Just the right amount of romance. It doesn't get sappy, it doesn't overshadow the basic story, but it adds a nice, soft touch to what could be a very rough and unpleasant tale. And, in a different twist, it's the romance, not the usual climactic gun battle, that ends this film.

I can't say enough about this movie except that I'm sorry more westerns like it aren't made today.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great new western, September 24, 2003
William W. Miller (Sparks, NV United States) - See all my reviews
I'd probably give the film a 4 and a half star rating if that were available but hey, need to encourage anybody who makes a decent western these days. And this film is more than decent with great performances by Robert Duval and Kevin Costner. Duval has immediate crediability in any western as far as I'm concerned after the Lonesome Dove effort. And the same for Costner relative Daces with Wolves. Supporting cast is uniformly good. The scenery is beautiful, if Canadian. The story moves slowley, but to me, that mirrored the cowboy's life. Things didn't happen in quick step fashion very often. And I was happy to go along for the ride. The climatic gun battle was as good as I've seen. Only the Bennig/Costner romance didn't quite ring true to me. A little too quick, with the backdrop of all the trouble going. But there were some great moments there too, the tea serving, the picking up of mud clods, that had been drug in off the floor, and the ordering of a new set of dishes for Benning should Costner not survive the fight.
Well done I'd say. When it comes out on video I'll be adding it to my collection of westerns. And I hope to then to have a wide screen TV to enjoy it, in all its glory.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-see for western lovers, September 10, 2003
HWS Branson (Branson Mo. area) - See all my reviews
Don't let the critics keep you away from this one. Most of them wouldn't know a good movie if they watched one.
This film captures the audience immediately with stunning landscape photography, that transports you back to a time when the land was unmolested, and life itself was simpler. The stunning cinematography sets the mood for the whole story. Today's modern camera lenses make for some breathtaking vistas.
The film echoes that of Shane, with its mountainous backdrop, its characters and the good vs evil story line. Many have said this is the best western since Eastwood's "Unforgiven." Personally, I think it is better. Although I enjoy Eastwood's style of directing, he tends to be a little more rambunctious using a more deliberate hand in the realism department. Not that that's all bad...It's not. But Costner, to me, strikes a better balance in the gory realism department, still making his point, yet sending you back to the days when movies were more family oriented. In my estimation, they just don't make movies like this anymore. Costner should be commended as the director.
As for the characters, Duvall steals the program. He and Costner que off each other very well and make for a believeable pair of cowboys. This film was given a bad rap with its "R" rating...should have been PG-13. Its one of the few films that you don't have to worry about letting your kids see. All the components for a good western are present and even though it's a bit lengthy, it keeps you anticipating the climax.
Some say the western genre is not popular with movie-goers anymore. Bull-pucky!! As with Field of build it and they will make a good western and you'll get the same result...people will be there to see it.
Kudo's to Costner and all involved with this film. Its the best since Dances With Wolves.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open Range - A brilliant western!, January 26, 2004
K. Wyatt "ssintrepid" (Cape Girardeau, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Open Range (DVD)
"Open Range" is an incredibly poetic, simple, yet complex film that is extremely entertaining on all points. It has probably been since the release of "Unforgiven" that I've watched a new western and enjoyed it this much! Few films in today's era go so far as "Open Range" does as far as character and plot development, fearing that they would bore the audience to death which may well be true for many other films but it works perfectly in this exceptional movie, flawlessly building up the suspense for the ultimate conclusion of the film.
I would definitely have to say it has also been a long time since I've watched a film with Kevin Costner in it that I've enjoyed this much as well. I wouldn't go so far as to say, with this one film, that he's back but this film makes a very good start at him showing the depth of his acting abilities once again. The true star of this exceptional film is Robert Duvall. He is a true star in all genres but he shines even brighter when it's time to don a role in a western movie. Then there's Annette Bening, an actress of true beauty who has always been such a special influence on every film she takes up and with this role, she once again vividly displays why she is a film star.
Along with the starring role, Kevin Costner takes the nod for producing and more importantly, directing this intriguingly captivating movie. I would have to say that of the movies he's directed so far that I've watched this was his best effort in the director's seat.
The Premise:
Welcome to the open range of America during the year of 1882. This impressive film opens up to a beautiful vista of open grazing land and we're introduced to our primary characters in Boss (Robert Duvall) and Charlie (Kevin Costner) who are free grazers, which are cowboys who drive their herds on the open plains. Along with them are two younger cowboys in Mose (Abraham Benrubit, "ER) and Button (Diego Luna). When they find they need some additional supplies, they send Mose back to the last town they came through and when a couple days go by without his return they decide that they must go back to find out what happened to him. Not long after they arrive in the small western town they find that Mose had been in a fight and was brutally beaten despite having dished out some to his attackers as well. They're warned away from the town by a local rancher who has the sheriff under his belt...
What follows from there is, for the better part, a melodramatic western with an exhilarating ending that is particularly captivating. I highly recommend this film to any and all fans of the western genre! {ssintrepid}
Special Features:
-Audio Commentary with Kevin Costner
-"America's Open Range" A historical journey back in time to the real open range of the 1800s, narrated by Kevin Costner
-"Beyond Open Range" Director's Journal
-Deleted Scenes
-"Storyboarding: Open Range"
-Music Video Montage
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the few very good modern westerns, November 4, 2009
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This review is from: Open Range [Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a well done western. There will be too much dialogue, and romance for some that are looking for shoot-first westerns. But the gunfights are well done, and if you have a good surround sound system the shoot-outs near the end are realistically pounding. There are short times in the movie when heart-drama "Lonesome Dove" come to mind, but it is more of an action western, than a drama/saga. The Blu-ray of "Open Range" displays the beauty of the range land, and of the confrontational gunfights.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutally Honest Depiction, May 11, 2004
This review is from: Open Range (DVD)
"Open Range" may be a fictional story, but the events that occurred within it were brutally honest depictions of what happened in the 1880's.
The story moves along at a somewhat slow pace, but you have to remember that the pace is used to develop the characters and the storyline. It also helps to enhance the believability of the story, e.g. the waiting for the killers, moving the herd across the plains, etc. Costner's depiction of a violent man trying to shake off his past is perfect. Once he slips his old skin back on, however, the cold-blooded intent with which he seeks out his enemies is played to perfection. He becomes a killer. Duvall's tough-as-nails "Boss" character is memorable as the older, wiser leader of the free-grazing group. He becomes the level that keeps Costner from losing all control throughout the film. The rest of the cast does a superb job. Annette Bening deserves praise for the sheer looks of terror that cross her face in this film. She surprised me in this one.
As it was with the characters, so it is with the action of the movie. It's a very accurate depiction of a gunfight in the Old West. When people shoot, they miss...often. Even the heroes of the film miss their shots frequently. In the late 1800's, guns still weren't up to par with today's standards. Shooting at and missing someone from close proximity was the norm. When a bullet did hit its mark, the target didn't always die instantly. This is shown throughout the fight sequences in this film. At times they are disturbing, which I believe is the whole point of such scenes in this movie. You don't know if you should cheer for the good guys or have pity on the bad ones because of how violent the deaths in this film are.
Many people have called this a traditional Western. If you mean traditional in the sense that it's just like a lot of other Western movies, you're partially right. There are a lot of Westerns that depict the violent and psychological struggles of the late 1800's with precision, but there are many more that glamorize that time in our history. Also, many of the stories we've heard are often based on the dimestore novels and "half-truths" that grew from that time. This movie isn't like that. It's as close to actuality as I've seen in a long time.
In closing, this movie is brutally honest. Don't watch it if you want to see one of those "good guys in white hats" dimestore movies. Watch it if you want an honest, accurate depiction of events that could have happened in one of the most violent times in American history. I higly recommend this film.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Open Up To A Modern Western, July 13, 2004
V. Marshall (North Fork, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Open Range (DVD)
Kevin Costner has brought the simplicity of an old western movie into a new age and done a fantastic job, both as an actor and as director.
The storyline for this film is a bit bland and basic but the intensity of acting and the scenery make up for the lack of substance in the story. "Open Range" takes you into a real western setting where one could see for miles and miles only what God made and be humbled by it. The gunfight is fantastic and so much more than any found in the good old western movies.
Robert Duvall is perfect as Boss, an old grubby cowboy with heart. Opposite Duvall you would think Costner would pale in comparision but he fits in almost as perfectly as a man with a mystery past. Annette Bening is subtle in her role, as a doctor's sister, but no less important to the film as Costner and Duvall. But the most impressive character in this film is by far the western scenery and the reality of nature's wrath out in the open range of 1882.
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Open Range
Open Range by Kevin Costner (DVD - 2004)
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