After Kevin Costner was able to rise to the Hollywood Olympus of gifted filmmakers with his grandiose directorial debut “Dances With Wolves”, it only went downhill for him in the position as director: Both “Postman” and “Waterworld” – the Costner finally finished it himself – failed at the box office and in the trade press.
With “Open Range – Weites Land”, which can be seen today, October 15 at 8:15 p.m. on NRD, Kevin Costner finally returned to his roots in 2003 and took on the classic western genre. Even if the film went a bit too unnoticed, Costner once again shows his actually undisputed class as a director. You can also get “Open Range” on Blu-ray and DVD via Amazon:
›› “Open Range” on Blu-ray and DVD at Amazon*
In 1882, Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) and Charley Waite (Kevin Costner) traveled across America as cowboys and let their herds of cattle graze in the open country. Since there is hardly any real estate, they are constantly traveling as so-called “freegrazers”. However, when they stumble into a village run by the ruthless Denton Baxter (Michael Gambon), their lives take a turbulent turn.
Baxter hates Freegrazer and doesn’t shy away from using force to express it in order to evict Boss and Charley as quickly as possible. As the situation continues to deteriorate and there are ultimately deaths to be mourned, Boss and Charley take up arms to defend their lives and their property with all means. A fight for justice begins…
It seems to be chiseled into the foundations of many good Westerns that they always see themselves as a deconstruction of their own genre to a certain extent, in order to do away with the founding myth and quirky frontier romance. Also “Open Range” is not interested in glorifying the historical epoch around the 19th century. Instead, he strikes up a soft swan song.
As with Dances With Wolves, Costner’s main focus is on the characters. The official DashFUN review, in which “Open Range” got 4 out of 5 stars, describes this fact as follows: “Costner takes his time, lots of time, to tell his story. Over a whopping 139 minutes, he gives his characters plenty of room to develop.”
Not only does Kevin Costner himself convince as a torn (anti)hero who is plagued by the ghosts of the past, but also Robert Duvall (“The Godfather”), who once again proves his impressive presence. The chemistry between the main actors is also fantastic – and allows itself some exciting ambivalences again and again.
In addition to the beautiful landscape shots, there is one more thing that sticks in your memory: the leaden finale. Much like Noon, Open Range is building toward a big, memorable showdown, and that’s where Costner delivers in style. Critics say: “With his settings, he lets the viewer physically feel what it means to be hit by a bullet.”
This is a re-release of an article previously published on DashFUN.
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