Saturday, February 11, 2012

SCENE IT: How to Start a Gunfight

I would need much more than a blog entry to detail why I think 2003's Open Range is easily Kevin Costner's best, so I'll boil it down to my favorite moment in the film: the start of the climactic gunfight.

This thing has been coming all movie long, and for Costner's cowboy Charlie Waite, it isn't about survival or honor, it's not even about living by a code that he can't find anywhere anymore. His demeanour is sharply contrasted by his most direct opponent, the gunslinger known only as Butler (played by the much underrated Kim Coates) whose dangerous reputation is built up throughout the film without ever meeting him until then. Waite is a workhorse with an ironclad set of values while Butler is your typical glamorous "shooting" star.

Most movies, westerns or dramas or thrillers alike, would build up that moment and take the longest time to bring the tension up to eleven, which is why Costner's action is so jaw-dropping: he's not there to settle a score or clean up the city, this is nothing short of an execution and he won't wait for the composer to give them a cue, he goes straight for the head. If you haven't seen the movie, skip this video and head to the nearest store. Otherwise, here's one of my all-time favorite movie moments. 

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