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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Open Range (review)

It’s nowhere near the revelation his Dances with Wolves was, but Kevin Costner’s thematic sequel to that groundbreaking revisionist Western again explores the closing of the American frontier and the ensuing culture clash. Butting heads here are a powerful rancher (Michael Gambon: Charlotte Gray) who’s claimed an enormous spread for himself — and has the sheriff of the nearby town in his pocket — and “open range” cattlemen (Costner: Dragonfly and Robert Duvall: Gods and Generals), who drive their herd through unsettled country. But Costner’s morality play (from a script by promising newcomer Craig Storper, based on the novel by Lauran Paine) is not as black-and-white as you might expect: freedom ain’t always good, and settling down ain’t always bad. A terrific cast — including Michael Jeter (Welcome to Collinwood), in a poignantly funny last live-action performance, and Y Tu Mama Tambien‘s Diego Luna — and laudable ambitions more than make up for its meanderings. If it gets a little lost along the way, this is still a thoughtful and moving examination of a particular brand of American schizophrenia.

MPAA: rated R for violence

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
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