I know what you're thinking because I thought it too: Does the world really need another Kevin Costner epic Western? But while I don't pretend to go into movies without any preconceived notions, I'm always willing to be pleasantly surprised (read: wrong), and "Open Range" is more than just good -- it's a proud, powerfully acted paradigm of cinema Americana.
From its gorgeous photography of the wide-open prairie -- across which actor-director Costner and Robert Duvall drive cattle as some of the last "freegrazers" of the cowboy era -- to their brutal, wide-ranging, Peckinpah-worthy climactic shootout in a dusty town run by an iron-fisted rancher (Michael Gambon), this is some of Costner's best work in front of or behind the camera.
More like "Unforgiven" than "Dances With Wolves" (and thankfully nothing at all like "The Postman," which was something of a futuristic Western), "Open Range" takes its time (an authentic Western shouldn't have a modern Hollywood pace) telling an unpretentious story of rugged but peaceful men surrendering to the enticement of revenge after the rancher's henchmen attack the freegrazers' camp, killing one of their young apprentices and leaving another at death's door because "No freegrazer's gonna take the food out my cattle's mouths!"
Continue reading: Open Range Review