Open Range

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Based on the novel by Lauran Paine and directed by Kevin Costner, this action western is the story of four cowboys driving cattle in a land where nature makes the only laws. While they are peace-loving men, they are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in when difficulties arise. After one of the men (Michael Jeter) goes into town for supplies and does not return, Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) and Charley Waite (Kevin Costner) find him beaten and in jail. They soon discover that the town is run by evil rancher Denton Baxter (Michael Gambon) and a corrupt sheriff (James Russo). Seeing the fight coming, Boss and Charley decide to strike first. They begin to win the admiration of some of the towns people, including Charleys love interest Sue Barlow (Annette Bening), and before long they are not alone in their fight.

The existence of narrative and character development in this western is refreshing. Although these men take the law into their own hands, they question their own actions and try to draw a line between justice, vengeance and murder. When a man is killed and another critically wounded in an attack, a friend questions God for not preventing it and expresses his anger by calling God an SOB. After a man meets a woman and knows her for only a few days, he tells her he loves her and asks her to marry him. Love is described as more of a feeling than a commitment. Being trusted by another is said to be a valuable thing. The fighting is brutal and intense, although the gore was not as explicit as in some recent war films. Because of the amount of bad language and violence, Preview cannot recommend this film. However, the moral struggles and overall good production give it some merit that some may find worthwhile.

Preview Reviewer: Alan Boyer
Touchstone Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (21) times (damn 10, hell 4, SOB 7)

Obscene Language: S-word 2

Profanity: GD 6, J 1, JC 1, MG 1, G 1, other 1

Violence: Long, intense gunfight with 20 or more shot and killed; man blown 20 feet by gun blast, man hit in head, face and body with gun butt

Sex: None

Nudity: Near Nudity: a woman is seen briefly in undergarments, men are told to remove pants and then seen in long johns

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: men drinking beer and hard liquor, and smoking cigarettes and cigars

Other: Chloroform is used to disable men

Running Time: 135 minutes.
Intended Audience: Adults

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