Open Range

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This is a movie to make you think. And what I was thinking was: being a movie actor is kind of a cool job. You get to (in this case) pretend you're a cowboy, making your living under grand and glorious vistas. You get to demonstrate the cowboy virtues of humility, courage, honesty, loyalty, and (of course) rough justice. And you get to ride horses.

Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner play Boss Spearman and Charley Waite, longtime associates in the free-range cattle business. They employ the giant, good-hearted Mose and teenaged hothead Button. And there's a dog. Apart from the usual minor frictions between guys, all goes well until they get too close to a town dominated by a cattle rancher with a deep hatred of free-rangers; soon enough, their livelihood and lives are under threat. Along the way, they meet sweet Sue, a town lady played by Annette Bening, and this adds a bit of romance to the mix.

Costner and Duvall have great chemistry together, and they fit in their roles perfectly. The villains are appropriately nasty, the heroes turn out to be unexpectedly resourceful in return. There's plenty of action. All in all, a very good western.

Last Modified 2012-10-05 8:37 AM EDT