Hollywood Records (2061-62416-2)
Release Date: 2003
Conducted by Michael Kamen
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Average Rating: 5 stars (1 user)
|1.||"Holding All My Love For You" - Julianna Raye|
|6.||Ride To Town|
|8.||Spooks On The Hill|
|12.||Charley And Sue|
|13.||Boss Convinces Charley|
|14.||On The Porch|
|15.||Cat And Mouse|
|16.||Baxter Taunts Charley|
|20.||Charley Rides Off|
|Track lengths not available for this album. If you have track length/time information for this album, please e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it to the database.|
|by Josh Wisch
on October 23rd, 2003
Open Range is proof that Kevin Costner has not lost the power and the subtlety that he displayed in Dances with Wolves. Starring Robert Duvall as Boss Spearman and Costner as Charley Waite (Costner actually gives himself second billing even though he directed and produced the film), Open Range focuses on the life of two free grazers in an Old West that is becoming increasingly less tolerant of them and their roamin' ways. The supporting cast, including Annette Bening (The American President), Michael Gambon (Gosford Park), and the late Michael Jeter (The Green Mile) is as solid as a cowboy's convictions to his horse.
Costner likes movies that run long, and Open Range is no exception. Clocking in at just under 2.5 hours, it is tighter than Dances with Wolves, but it does not lack for epic grandeur. Costner's, aided ably by cinematographer James Muro (most of whose Hollywood life has been spent as a steadicam operator), lets his camera take its time gazing over the prairie lands. When the wind whips over the barren land and stings the free grazers' faces, you feel it just as surely as they do. Indeed, the film's success in walking the tightrope between Old West corny and rugged realism is magnificent. Cold, rugged, and beautiful to behold, Open Range is the first serious Best Picture contender of the year.
The music by Michael Kamen is a departure from much of his earlier work (the Lethal Weapon series, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Die Hard trilogy) and shows his evolution and growth as a serious composer. For much of the score, Kamen utilizes the sounds and styles of the Old West ("Wagon Wheel" and "Open Range") and this succeeds nicely. Some of the other tracks are just, for lack of a better word, gosh-darned sweet ("Boss Convinces Charley," "On the Porch"). Where the score transcends to the next level is when Kamen lets it open up and complement the grandeur of the film itself (once again, "Wagon Wheel") with full orchestral rushes. It's on this track that Kamen introduces us to the true theme of the film that is used throughout the score, each time more effectively than the last. For instance, although it's not precisely the same music, the strong thematic element present in "Wagon Wheel" is re-imagined in "Ride to Town" on a far gloomier and powerful level.
There are a few portions of the score that are purely incidental music and therefore not much to listen to outside of the context of the film ("Spooks on the Hill," "Starry Night"). Even still, however, even those tracks, which by all means should not be of much value because they are so sparse or fragmented, are still compelling either because of how gently they're written ("Wounded Button") or because of the remarkable transition within the track that Kamen is able to shepherd ("Laudanum Dream").
All that being said, this soundtrack is worth the price simply for "Gunfight." As the title implies, "Gunfight" could have been raucous noise, but Kamen has composed a brief, tragic, and overwhelming opera in this single track. It ranges tempos, musical genres, and musical cultures all climaxing in the final re-working of the main theme of the film. Even the truly incidental portions of "Gunfight" are present enough to create tension just listening to them. Although the score is strong as a whole, "Gunfight" is a dark masterpiece, and a worthy addition to any collection.
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