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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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|ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.|
(2003), R -- "I got no trouble killin', Boss."
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Tig Productions
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Kevin Costner
Producer(s): Armyan Bernstein, Kevin Costner, Jake Eberts, Craig Storper, David Valdes
Written by/Screenplay: Lauran Paine (novel The Open Range Men), Craig Storper (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: James Muro
Music: Michael Kamen
Film Editing: Michael J. Duthie, Miklos Wright
Casting: Mindy Marin
Production Design: Gae S. Buckley
Art Direction: Gary Myers
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
In the slowly eroding Old West of 1882, seasoned veteran cattle drive boss, Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) whose real first name is Bluebonnet drives a herd through old Texas with a small unlikely crew; Boss' drive hand for a decade and expert Civil War killer, Charlie Waite (Kevin Costner) a.k.a. Charles Travis Postewaite; gentle giant, Mose (Abraham Benrubi); 16 year old orphan, Button (Diego Luna). Open Range is not a typical page from the past sanitized to erase the dirt and grit of it. It presents about the most likely conditions experienced by cowboys who lived the era: hard, gritty and spartan. Attention to detail was great. Even the panes of glass in windows were presented as would glass of the era with waves of varying density due to the gelatinous nature of window glass of the time. Unfortunately, many of the values and ethics of the "sanitized" distillations of the Old West where heroes fight for a noble cause are not there. In this case, they fight for revenge, perpetuating the growing drive to get even. [Rom. 12:19]
In the heart of the story, ranchers and cattlemen are enemies. To the ranchers, cattlemen are free-grazers, feeding their cattle on the resources of wherever they might be. Wealthy and brutal rancher Denton Baxter (Michael Gambon) makes certain Boss Spearman knows he and his herd are not welcome ... murderously. Baxter's dogs attack Boss' crew while sleeping, kill Mose and seriously injure Button. With their hearts set on revenge, Boss and Charlie return the brutality. At least fifteen people die as the result. Graphically. With no regret whatsoever. The brutality and nihilism portrayed in the killings was expressive of the emptiness of the heart we are slowly being conditioned to accept as, well, acceptable. "I got no trouble killin', Boss."
There is much more to his 138 minute film. So much more I would like to share with you. Some quality performances by talented artists present a tale that leaves no room for restroom breaks. But with times as spartan as they are (for now), I cannot afford to spend enough time on the plot. So, let me get to why parents and grandparents and pastors visit us - the reasons why this film is rated R.
Unless nudity or intercourse appeared during the one restroom break I took, there was none in this film. The closest to it was a gentle and pure romance building between Charlie and Sue Barlow (Annette Bening), the nurse sister of the local Doc Barlow (Dean McDermott). Well done, Costner. Indeed, the only sexual content I noted was a sexual insult, an anatomical reference and an adult in underwear. [Ps. 12:8]
The same cannot be said for violence and language. Some of the most depictive mechanics of gunshot killing I have ever seen were presented repeatedly. The slamming back of the body as a bullet hits it was inescapable. The realism of the mechanics of gunshot killing were nearly as depictive of the coldness of the killers. One could almost see the killer's lips pulled taught across his teeth as they grind out "I'll kill you!" But that would at least be some emotion. There was none in the eyes of the ones killing, as if it was a mundane, routine job or chore, empty of any lifefore that makes us human: as empty as the Wanton Violence/ Crime and Murder/Suicide Investigation Area scores. [Prov. 3:31-32]
The three/four letter word vocabulary was used at least 29 times [ Col. 3:8] with God's name in vain used 11 times, seven with the four letter expletive. [Deut 5:11] In addition to the offense of using God's name in vain, the writers had Robert Duvall curse God for letting murder happen. And this provided just one more nugget of fuel for people to think God lets evil happen and that we may freely speak hateful of Him [Luke 10:27]. So few seem to understand that the evils that happen to us are indeed the result of the freedom of choice He gave us. Granted, God could stop any of us in our tracks as we commit evils, but He does not want puppets. He will not take our freedom of choice away from us for any reason. That places accountability for wrong-doings where it belongs -- on us. Accountability for our poor choices belongs on us, not God.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Single Christian Network
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|