Film Review – OPEN RANGE (2003)

Flicks On 'Flix – Open Range – I'm Talkin' HereOPEN RANGE (USA, 2003) ****
      Distributor: Winchester Film Distribution; Production Company: Touchstone Pictures / Cobalt Media Group / Beacon Pictures / Tig Productions; Release Date: 11 August 2003 (USA), 19 March 2004 (UK); Filming Dates: 17 June 2002 – 8 September 2002; Running Time: 139m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS; Film Format: 35 mm (anamorphic) (Kodak Vision 2383); Film Process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Super 35 (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: 12.
      Director: Kevin Costner; Writer: Craig Storper (based on the novel “The Open Range Men” by Lauran Paine); Executive Producer: Armyan Bernstein, Craig Storper; Producer: Kevin Costner, Jake Eberts, David Valdes; Director of Photography: J. Michael Muro; Music Composer: Michael Kamen; Film Editor: Michael J. Duthie, Miklos Wright; Casting Director: Mindy Marin; Production Designer: Gae S. Buckley; Art Director: Gary Myers; Set Decorator: Mary-Lou Storey; Costumes: John Bloomfield; Make-up: Pearl Louie, Jon C. White; Sound: Barney Cabral.
      Cast: Robert Duvall (Boss Spearman), Kevin Costner (Charley Waite), Annette Bening (Sue Barlow), Michael Gambon (Denton Baxter), Michael Jeter (Percy), Diego Luna (Button), James Russo (Sheriff Poole), Abraham Benrubi (Mose), Dean McDermott (Doc Barlow), Kim Coates (Butler), Herb Kohler (Cafe Man), Peter MacNeill (Mack), Cliff Saunders (Ralph), Patricia Stutz (Ralph’s Wife (as Pat Stutz)), Julian Richings (Wylie), Ian Tracey (Tom), Rod Wilson (Gus), Diego Diablo Del Mar (Ballester (as Diego Del Mar)), Patricia Benedict (Cafe Woman), Tim Koetting (Bartender Bill).
      Synopsis: A former gunslinger is forced to take up arms again when he and his cattle crew are threatened by a corrupt lawman.
      Comment: Excellent Western in the traditional format directed by Costner at a leisurely pace until the gunfight finale, one of the best-ever seen in the genre. Duvall and Costner are outstanding as free-grazers helped by young Luna and Benrubi. When they stray onto rancher Gambon’s land the battle lines are drawn. Bening plays the town doctor’s sister who falls for the awkward Costner in a romantic sub-plot. Whilst taking its time to come to the boil, the film explores the complex character motivations of Costner’s gunslinger history and Duvall’s aspirations to put down roots years after the death of his wife and daughter. Gambon is served less well by the script and his Irish rancher is a little two-dimensional. However, the film reaches an explosive finale as the two factions shoot it out on the town streets. The segment is superbly shot and is a satisfying conclusion to one of the best Westerns since the genre’s heyday.

Film Review – A PERFECT WORLD (1993)

A Perfect World (1993)A PERFECT WORLD (USA, 1993) ****
      Distributor: Warner Bros.; Production Company: Warner Bros. / Malpaso Productions; Release Date: 24 November 1993 (USA), 24 December 1993 (UK); Filming Dates: 29 April 1993 – 16 July 1993; Running Time: 138m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Dolby Digital; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Clint Eastwood; Writer: John Lee Hancock; Producer: Clint Eastwood, Mark Johnson, David Valdes; Director of Photography: Jack N. Green; Music Composer: Lennie Niehaus; Film Editor: Joel Cox, Ron Spang; Casting Director: Phyllis Huffman; Production Designer: Henry Bumstead; Art Director: Jack G. Taylor Jr.; Set Decorator: Alan Hicks; Costumes: Erica Edell Phillips; Make-up: James Lee McCoy, Francisco X. Pérez; Sound: Alan Robert Murray; Special Effects: John Frazier.
      Cast: Kevin Costner (Butch Haynes), Clint Eastwood (Red Garnett), Laura Dern (Sally Gerber), T.J. Lowther (Phillip Perry), Keith Szarabajka (Terry Pugh), Leo Burmester (Tom Adler), Paul Hewitt (Dick Suttle), Bradley Whitford (Bobby Lee), Ray McKinnon (Bradley), Jennifer Griffin (Gladys Perry), Leslie Flowers (Naomi Perry), Belinda Flowers (Ruth Perry), Darryl Cox (Mr. Hughes), Jay Whiteaker (Superman), Taylor Suzanna McBride (Tinkerbell), Christopher Reagan Ammons (Dancing Skeleton), Mark Voges (Larry), Vernon Grote (Prison Guard), James Jeter (Oldtimer), Ed Geldart (Fred Cummings), Bruce McGill (Paul Saunders), Nik Hagler (General Store Manager), Gary Moody (Local Sheriff), George Haynes (Farmer), Marietta Marich (Farmer’s Wife), Rodger Boyce (Mr. Willits), Lucy Lee Flippin (Lucy), Elizabeth Ruscio (Paula), David Kroll (Newscaster), Gabriel Folse (Officer Terrance), Gil Glasgow (Officer Pete), Dennis Letts (Governor), John Hussey (Governor’s Aide), Margaret Bowman (Trick ‘r Treat Lady), John M. Jackson (Bob Fielder), Connie Cooper (Bob’s Wife), Cameron Finley (Bob Fielder, Jr.), Katy Wottrich (Patsy Fielder), Marco Perella (Road Block Officer), Linda Hart (Eileen, Waitress), Brandon Smith (Officer Jones), George Orrison (Officer Orrison), Wayne Dehart (Mack), Mary Alice (Lottie), Kevin Jamal Woods (Cleveland), Tony Frank (Arch Andrews), Woody Watson (Lt. Hendricks).
      Synopsis: A kidnapped boy strikes up a friendship with his captor: an escaped convict on the run from the law, headed by an honourable U.S. Marshal.
      Comment: Intelligent and thoughtful pursuit movie which is driven by Costner’s complex central performance as the escaped prisoner on the run and the remarkable young Lowther as his 8-year-old hostage. Themes of father/son neglect are sensitively handled and the developing relationship between Costner and Lowther is the core of Hancock’s nicely judged script. Eastwood takes more of a back seat as he plays the Texas Ranger on Costner’s tail with Dern’s psychologist in tow. The climax is perfectly judged.