**½/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras A-
starring Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, Michael Gambon
screenplay by Craig Storper, based on the novel The Open Range Men by Lauran Paine
directed by Kevin Costner
starring James Woods, Nick Nolte, Claire Forlani, Duel Farnes
screenplay by Mark Polish & Michael Polish
directed by Michael Polish
by Walter Chaw A little like Neil Diamond, Kevin Costner is an anachronism whose earnestness has landed him in Squaresville when the tragedy is that with a little tweaking in perspective, his peculiar brand of old-school earnestness might have his contemporaries looking upon him with more admiration than mirth. Costner is also the great American Gary Cooper hero archetype: tall, good-looking, dim-witted, and dull as dishwater--working almost exclusively in the realm of the sort of guileless red-blooded manifest determinism that loves mom, apple pie, horses, dogs, and guns. And why not? Costner has never stricken me, at least with his own projects, as the slightest bit condescending, his gift the reality or illusion that America's favourite simpleton is learning things at the same pace as his screenplays. His films, from Waterworld to Dances with Wolves to The Postman, are lovable for their complete lack of irony and self-reflection.