Release year: 2003
Director: Kevin Costner
Screenwriter: Craig Storper, Lauran Paine (novel ‘The Open Range Men’)
Starring: Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Annette Bening, Michael Gambon, Michael Jeter, Diego Luna, James Russo, Kim Coates
Former gunslinger Charley (Kevin Costner) enjoys a mostly violent free life working for open range cattleman ‘Boss’ (Robert Duvall). When their herd takes them near Harmonville they run into trouble in form of corrupt sheriff Poole (James Russo) controlled by the ruthless land baron Denton Baxter (Michael Gambon) and soon they see themselves forced towards an unwanted showdown.
There is something about Costner (Dances With Wolves, 1990) that is very fitting for the western genre and here it is brought to full use where he delivers a performance that brings a good complexity to a character that could have been thin as card board. Charley is quiet on the outside, but Costner manage to show the turmoil of guilt and rage raving underneath. He seems at ease with Duvall (The Judge, 2014) giving the appearance of two people who have been through a lot together and despite danger ad love entering the picture the connection between the two men are never shaken. Gambon (Sleepy Hollow, 1999) is a delight as the vilian and Bening (The Kids Are All Right, 2010) sweet as the love interest in a touching story of love at unexpected places but the star casting is undoubtly Duvall who Costner says he had in mind from the begining and probably wouldn’t have made the movie without. The violence is gritty and realistic, not just in its execution but also in the limited amount and while the movie moves quietly along its way to the showdown with stunning landscapes in the background the climax doesn’t disappoint in tension.
Original the studio had Kevin Costner top-billed over Robert Duvall but Costner asked for it to be changed to top-bill Duvall isntead.
Picture copyright: NF Film