cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Click for full sized poster

Buy the Poster

Open Range

Starring Robert Duvall, Annette Bening, Michael Gambon and Kevin Costner
Screenplay by Craig Storper
Directed by Kevin Costner

IN SHORT: A ponderous tale of the ponderosa. [Rated R for violence. 135 minutes]

All the gorgeous landscape and cinematography in the world can't help a two-bit story which gives an audience no time to identify with characters and makes no effort to properly distinguish the bad guys from their mob. This is the problem with Open Range, at least for us. We've been seeing rave quotes for weeks and, now that we've planted for the film, wonder if the raves are coming just because Hollywood doesn't make Westerns with the regularity that they used to. Give a cowboy fan a half decent film, which is what Open Range is, half decent, and they'll hoop and holler just like extras in a rodeo scene.

For those who never paid attention in, or who have long since forgotten American History class, in the mid to late 19th century, the "wild" west was just that. Tremendous amounts of unclaimed land cleared of the natives by the Army, were ripe for settlement or use as a route to new beginnings for the immigrant population that fed this country. Open Range is a story involving four men who drove cattle across that land and who never showed much inclination for settling down in any of those prairie towns. They move their herd in 1882, a time when land barons like Denton Baxter (Michael Gambon) were actively trying to shut those operations down. In the case of our stars, Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) and his second Charley Waite (Kevin Costner) and their workers Mose (Abraham Benrubi) and Button (Diego Luna), Baxter's thugs mug one of the kids. When Boss and Charlie head into the town of Harmonyville to find their man, they're confronted and extorted by Baxter and his lackey lawman Marshall Poole (James Russo).

Baxter, basically, tells 'em to get out of town. They do. But they're followed out by more masked thugs, intent on rustling the herd and leaving bodies behind. They almost succeed. One survivor is left with Doc Barlow (Dean McDermott) and his wife, Sue Barlow (Annette Bening) and Boss and Charlie head off to get revenge on Baxter and a mob of hired guns.

There's a deliberate mistake in that last paragraph. Do not write us to correct it. The storyline in Open Range is so fragile that to tell you the truth would steal one of the few surprises in the story. Let's just say that Costner, who's built a career by playing cold, emotionless, hard-hearted men is perfectly cast in this role. The problem comes when that emotionless character is struck by an event that requires emotional reaction. Putting the change in the dialog doesn't work for us. If you plant, you'll understand.

Of the locals, stable owner Percy (Michael Jeter) provides most of the relief, comic and otherwise. The bigger problem is that all the "bad guys" are so two dimensional that they're fairly indistinguishable from each other. All the fine touches are in the background activity -- residents of the town, knowing a gunfight is coming, flee for the hills. Undeveloped is a theme of resentment among the townspeople against the boss Baxter. It may be there but, at a running time of well over two hours, the excess scenery and wasted time dilutes any development that may exist.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Open Range, he would have paid . . .


The only reason to see Open Range on the big screen is for the scenery.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Kevin Costner
Click to buy films starring Robert Duvall
Click to buy films starring Annette Bening
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.