Open Range

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(2003) ★★★★★

ITV4: Saturday 24 October, 8pm

Ruthless rancher Michael Gambon makes peaceable cattle drovers Kevin  Costner and Robert Duvall pay a high price for ‘free-grazing’.  Duvall’s Boss Spearman and Costner’s Charley Waite are marvellous  western characters fit to ride alongside the High Country’s finest.  Bone-weary, honourable men, they chew the fat, spill the beans and –  when riled enough – pull the trigger. The screen is filled with  sweeping vistas and vast skies, but the drama is intense, even  intimate.

Despite all the Oscars for Dances With Wolves, this is  Costner’s finest work (he directed it, too) and he’s canny enough to  concede star billing to the magnificent Duvall. There are a couple of  other exceptional westerns this evening. Like Open Range, Ed Harris’  underrated Appaloosa (Sky Atlantic at 9pm) has a rich vein of pawky  humour and a leathery lived-in feel that goes far beyond mere elegy.

Both of them took their mark from Clint Eastwood’s masterful  Unforgiven (TCM at 10.45pm), the 1992 Oscar winner that painted an  unforgettably gritty picture of frontier frailty while confronting big  themes in a shabby town called Big Whiskey. ITV4 has an altogether  different kind of Eastwood western with High Plains Drifter (also at  10.45pm), a merciless revenge story made by Clint 20 years before  Unforgiven.

Certificate: 12

Duration: 135min

IMDB – Open Range

TMDB – Open Range

Rotten Tomatoes – Open Range

Other Showings Date & Time
ITV4 Thursday, 29 October at 12:10AM