Monday, May 24, 2010

Movie of the Week - Open Range

This week’s movie is Open Range (2003).

The film is about a former gunslinger, Charley Waite, looking for a peaceful life with a cattle hauling outfit. However, the group comes across an overbearing wealthy landowner that forces Charley to take up arms once again to protect his friends and livelihood. The film is one of the best Westerns made in the past decade, and it is a genre that actor, director and producer Kevin Costner has had success in before with Dances with Wolves (not to mention a genre that needs more films to be made in). The film is based on the book by Lauran Paine. The technical aspects of the film fit Costner’s vision well and really create the ambiance of the time period and area of the country. Costner assembled a great crew including: a score from Michael Kamen (one of his last), cinematography from J. Michael Muro (his first job as D.P., and he did wonderful work) and production design from Gae S. Buckley (who also worked on The Book of Eli). The film co-stars Robert Duvall (who is perfect in the role, sort of visiting his Lonesome Dove performance a bit), Annette Bening and Michael Gambon. What makes the film great is Costner’s ability to work in the genre delivering not only a fantastic western but a great film too. The way he uses the camera to show the landscape is superb (in a time when development was ever encroaching on the open spaces and the way of life of the cowboys) and his action sequences are top notch and a highlight of the film. This is a must for fans of the genre. Check out the trailer.

Open Range [DVD]

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