Open Range (2003)

Open Range directed by and starring Kevin Costner is a lovely film.  All the better for having all the violence at the end and taking it’s time to get there.

So, it’s pretty clear from the first half an hour that we’re building towards a big shootout. The suspense is there, the clock is set ticking – what to do until then? Well, let’s have some great character work – between two old cow pokes, who have worked together for ten years but never really spoken about anything (except, occasionally the weather).

The bulk of the film is made up of Kevin’s character and Bob Duval’s character finally getting to really know each other once they are facing possible death. There’s also a chance of a last romance for Kevin’s character, and Bob reveals his heartbreak at the death of his wife (which the other man never even knew about).

When the violence comes it’s to be relished. This is reminded me a little bit of Anthony Mann’s Man of the West (1958) and they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

Watch for the scene in supply store where Duval’s character buys expensive chocolate and takes pity on the owner of the store and his wife – who sell the chocolate, but can’t afford to buy it…

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on or hire him on Peopleperhour