Review Date: August 13, 2003
Director: Kevin Costner
Writer: Craig Storper
Producers: Kevin Costner, Jake Eberts, David Valdes
Kevin Costner as Charley
Robert Duvall as Boss
Annette Bening as Sue
The film's final half hour, during which much of the gunplay takes place, is definitely its most gripping, if not one of the more memorable sequences from any film this summer. With heightened shooter sounds a la HEAT and stylized shots and kills, the denouement incorporated with it two elements that when melded together successfully, work wonders: visceral excitement and emotional attachment. Major kudos to Costner for skillfully putting together one of the more energetic gunfights that I've seen in a long time, and for reminding us why he is one of the more popular actors around. Duvall also provided the film and Costner's character with a moral compass, a mature mind and wise thoughts, but not to the point of turning in Yoda or boring the shit out of us. In fact, he also listened and adapted-which turned out to be one of the film's greater attributes as well. It never squeezed any one person into a corner or forced them to revert to one dimension. These people felt real, they had pasts, secrets and truths to be uncovered, and if your experience is anything like mine and you find yourself truly caring and moving alongside these characters as they discover one another, you too will enjoy this movie all the way through. OPEN RANGE is also loaded with a handful of interesting secondary characters including Kim Coates in a small, but pivotal, turn as the bitch of the wild bunch, Diego Luna, the young lad over whom much is fought and Michael Jeter (RIP), who along with a couple of miscellaneous moments nearing the film's end, provides for a number of well-placed humorous quips. You also get an assortment of memorable scenes including one in which the two men walk into a bar and order drinks the hard way, an ambush in the woods and a bunch of really neat flashes during the final gunfight- marked by the infamous "Are you the one who killed my friend?" shot. Very cool.
So even with a great trailer, a slick marketing campaign (love the posters) and the headstrong manner of Mr. Kevin Costner behind the lens, this movie still managed to rise above my expectations with an absorbing tale, a deliberate, but surprisingly effective, pace, well-established characters with real lines on their faces and lest I forget, one of the more riveting shootouts to top it all off. Here's hoping that this film becomes one of the sleeper hits of this mostly shitty summer movie season. "Men are going to get killed here today and I'm going to kill them." You tell 'em, man...you tell 'em.