Open Range


Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40

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Critic Reviews

  1. It's a gorgeously atmospheric, perfectly cast, beautifully crafted oater of the old school, made with heaps of integrity, no gimmicks and few concessions to the box office. Its only real flaw is that it strains a bit too hard to be a "classic" western.
  2. There's a lot in this movie, simple, big, small and exciting. It's the year's first serious contender for big prizes. What's not to like about this picture?
  3. Reviewed by: Kevin Carr
    Open Range gets better the deeper you get into the story.
  4. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    In this handsomely traditional movie, Kevin Costner has tried to fix the Western myth for all time in the stern contours of Duvall’s face and the guttural beauty of his voice. [1 September 2003, p. 130]
  5. 88
    An imperfect but deeply involving and beautifully made Western.
  6. It's a fine, old-fashioned 2 1/4 hours at the Bijou.
  7. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    A fine, heartfelt film, sometimes harrowing in its violence but blessedly free of pretension or bombast, even though it aspires to -- and achieves -- the stature of a classic Western.
  8. 80
    Here is a Western without irony or innovation, without any of the overt efforts toward “revisionism” we’ve come to expect even from Eastwood -- a movie that waxes elegiac about the end of the West, but remains sure that cowboys and cattle and ramshackle frontier towns will live on in perpetuity at the cinema.
  9. 80
    Costner sets course for one of the most stirringly choreographed shootouts in movie history.
  10. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    An intensely scenic, refreshingly humanistic oater that dares to be sincere and open-hearted.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    It's a real and rare pleasure to see Costner and Duvall together -- these masters of intense passivity, who know how to be watched when they're listening.
  12. Say what you like, think what you will, scoff if you have to (and you will definitely have to), but in the final analysis Kevin Knows Westerns.
  13. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    A return to the Western in its pure, cinematic form.
  14. Nobody smells of sagebrush, campfire coffee, tobacco (smoked or chewed) and saddle soap like Duvall.
  15. 75
    This is a great two-hour motion picture. Unfortunately, it runs 20 minutes longer than that.
  16. 75
    A patient, suspenseful exercise in genre craftsmanship
  17. 75
    Open Range could easily have lost 20 minutes in the editing room, but its very casual pacing and beautiful vistas - gorgeously photographed in British Columbia by James Munro - are a soothing alternative in a season of movies seemingly aimed at sufferers of attention deficit disorder.
  18. A flawed but highly entertaining B Western blown up to John Ford scale.
  19. There's nothing corny, however, about the climactic shoot-out, which Costner has staged superbly as an extended logistical mini-war that surges and rifle-cracks with bloody abandon through what feels like every building in town. Call it dances with guns.
  20. Costner is always at his best when he’s a little ornery, and Duvall is the same way. His grizzled performance is so thoroughly in character that he even chews as if it were 1882.
  21. 70
    The scenario recalls everything from "High Noon" to "Unforgiven," but Costner is less interested in grappling with the grim ambiguities underlying those films than in codifying them. There's still much to like, including the warm, thoughtful performances and cinematographer James Muro's fearless use of natural light.
  22. 70
    Mostly it's just a good yarn, with attractive picture-postcard vistas and an agreeable strain of light humor.
  23. In spite of its portentousness, the film does engage one.
  24. 67
    When the picture's good, it's really something; when it's bad, you grit your teeth and pray it will end.
  25. Though visually lovely and ambitious, never soars to the heights achieved by "Unforgiven." Costner’s film lacks the moral complexity that might earn it a solid berth in the canon of the American Western.
  26. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Compared with other films Costner has directed, Range isn't a folly like "The Postman," nor is it quite as over-elaborated as "Dances With Wolves."
  27. The screenplay of Open Range, credited to one Craig Storper, is an awesome compendium of cowboy-movie cliches. It borders on parody, and often crosses the border, rustling up a drove of oater aphorisms.
  28. A better, and more relevant movie, might have left us at the point of troubled introspection, but Costner is compulsive about tying up loose ends and upbeat messages. If the climax of Open Range is disappointing, the ending is almost intolerable.
  29. A blend of the classical and the trite, the beautiful and tawdry, the genuinely moving and the cornball. Oddly, producer-director-star Costner often can't seem to tell the difference.
  30. Storper is pretty good at playing with and against certain western cliches in his treatment of the good guys (including Annette Bening's character), but resorts to pure cliche when it comes to the villians (e.g., Gambon and James Russo).
  31. While Costner the actor clearly imagines himself the Gary Cooper of the 21st century, he's got a crude sentimental streak that Costner the director fails to curtail.
  32. Many sequences, many moments, are turned skillfully, and the look of the film is much of the time breathtaking. Yet, for its entire two hours and fifteen minutes, we merely watch it. It is there. We are here, regrettably objective.
  33. Open Range veers wildly. It's a movie of beauty and sensitivity, and tedium and absurdity.
  34. 50
    There's a fine little western lurking inside Open Range: Too bad it gets drowned out by director Kevin Costner's pretentiousness. Almost everything in the movie feels inflated, overblown, drawn out.
  35. 50
    A moderate success, if a bit clunky. Somewhere beneath the syrupy melodrama and the scenes that should have expired long ago, there is an intelligent, thoughtful western in waiting.
  36. In all, the film is a striking, if flawed, achievement by a talented actor who may become an important director if he sticks to the genre that suits him best.
  37. 50
    Open Range copies the rain and flood of the Clint Eastwood classic but can't match it for dark-night-of-the-soul brilliance.
  38. Mr. Costner's relentless, root-canal humorlessness turns what might have been an enjoyable B-picture throwback into a ponderous drag.
  39. Where "Silverado" swaggered, Open Range sulks; it's no fun at all.
  40. 38
    Without Duvall, this movie would be as wet as Waterworld.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 160 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 6 out of 33
  1. Nov 28, 2012
    "Open Range" is a 2003 film directed by and starring Kevin Costner. The movie tells the story of two cattle ranchers (Costner, Duvall) who are"Open Range" is a 2003 film directed by and starring Kevin Costner. The movie tells the story of two cattle ranchers (Costner, Duvall) who are forced to take up arms when threatened by corrupt lawmen. The movie to me looked like it was gonna' be a slightly boring film about life on the. . .wait for it. . .open range. I was half right. A very large portion of this movie's beginning 45 minutes is about just that. However, past that point the movie picks up with a fairly plain, but still enjoyable plot. The characters in the movie are pretty good. Duvall's portrayal of Boss Spearman is the best in the film, by my opinion. I thought Costner's performance was a little stoic, but not bothersome (makes me think that that was the intention). The script was standard in terms of dialogue I guess. Then again, I wasn't alive during the 19th century, so I have no frame of reference. The best and most entertaining point in this film is the last hour where the film's most impressive set piece is set into motion - a really incredible gunfight happens. It's shot spectacularly well - a worthy testament of Costner's directorial aptitude. Through and through I found "Open Range" to be a fairly entertaining film with a great climax. Full Review »
  2. Nov 26, 2012
    Duvall is just brilliant. Costner is Costner...the Jerry Seinfeld of dramas. He's just Kevin, in 19th-century America, hardly even trying toDuvall is just brilliant. Costner is Costner...the Jerry Seinfeld of dramas. He's just Kevin, in 19th-century America, hardly even trying to act. Just being Kevin. Despite that, it's a lovely film, well shot. Full Review »
  3. PatC.
    Jul 6, 2006
    Two-thirds of the way through this movie was working. It really was. Then Costner was turned loose with his Two-thirds of the way through this movie was working. It really was. Then Costner was turned loose with his Aw-Shucks-I'm-just-a-gentle-caring-man-in-a-world-of-sexual-predators act. He's also a vicious killer with a conscience. Yea right. Like the stereotypes he guns down deserve a second thought. Duvall & Bening tried, but Costner's Dances-With-Dorks character is increasingly more than I can stand. This is a parody of Unforgiven pretending to merit being taken seriously. Oh Kevin Kevin, what to do with you? Full Review »