Saturday, March 23, 2013

Open Range (2003)

When my dad tried to get me to watch this movie, my response was "A western? I hate westerns! Blech-arg!" But considering the psychological mind-fuck films he had watched at my request, I figured I owed him recommendation-wise. So begrudgingly, I watched "Open Range" with him.

I didn't expect to like it. Heck, maybe I didn't WANT to like it, just so I could look at him all squinty-eyed, sigh and say "See? Westerns suck. Now I don't have to watch one ever again!"

But, to my surpise, I found myself engrossed in the plot and the characters, not to mention the unconventional casting choices (Annette Bening playing a character who ISN'T a stuck-up bitch? Michael Gambon playing a stone-cold killer?) If you, like me, claim to hate westerns, "Open Range" might be a good place to start.

So, anyway, a summary of the plot might be nice? Right? Boss (Robert Duvall) and Charley (Kevin Costner) are cowboys navigating a beautiful but barren Western landscape, accompanied by buddies hefty, fun-loving Mose (Abraham Benrubi) and Mexican teenager Button (Diego Luna).

When the men ride into a town crawling with corruption and greed, Boss and Charley decide they have no choice but stand up and fight. Meanwhile, Charley grapples with a violent past and his affections for Sue (Annette Bening), the local physician's sister.

The actors all hand in good performances, as far as I'm concerned -- I can't find fault with anyone here. I also appreciate the fact that there was plenty of gunslinging and action, but not to the expense of other things. There was also some great humor (always an asset, but also a rarity in the films that I usually watch) and beautiful scenery, capturing all the mystique and glory of the original untampered-with American West.

To provide a concise closing paragraph, this is an entertaining, engrossing, and altogether likable movie, which broadened my appreciation, just a little, for the kind of movie that has until now passed me by. Everyone should be taken out of their comfort zone occasionally, and for me, this excursion into the unknown was a welcome surprise.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written indeed! Loved your analysis as well as the film, which IMO is one of the best Westerns of the current millennium!!!

    Btw, do take some time out to check my film blog, A Potpourri of Vestiges. Here's the link:


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