Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway


Though it might seem indulgent, there is no question that the Western genre is Kevin Costner‘s passion. Here is part one of his “Horizon: An American Saga” epic on expansion of The West, the first of four.

It is an ambitious undertaking in this day and age of 90-minute post pandemic cinema, and Costner as director hits the perfect comforting Western notes, with grand landscapes and a majestic score.

At the start Frances Kittredge (Sienna Miller) is fighting for her life in the settlement Horizon, a newly developed white community. Threatened Native Americans come to burn it to the ground. The drama is on par with an action film and the apprehension produced is first rate.

Then Ellison, a miner (Kevin Costner) arrives getting unwittingly involved with Marigold (Abbey Lee) a nanny with a toddler in tow. Marigold is being pursued by a violent Sykes brother, a very scary man.

Somber fear and danger imbue this first chapter and the suspense is palpable. Though the men are morally horrendous, women rise to the fore (as well they should), and one hopes that the Native American characters receive a more prominent heroic treatment in the next chapter. Despite some swelling melodrama, the narrative is brisk. Costner has a way with the camera, and he treats his subject of The Old West with a panoramic beauty and glamour. His images contain a definite verve and style.

The one minor misstep is the kitschy montage at the conclusion that feels overly showy.

The tone does feel flavored and influenced by the medium of television. At times it skims along the realm of a soap opera, but it is a good soap opera. The characters contain haunt and pathos and the villains are satisfyingly villainous. This is an old school Western with some carbonation and interest.

All the seeds of suspense are planted here. One can eagerly await and hope for a deeper and more dynamic chapter two this August.

Write Ian at ianfree11@yahoo.com

Ratings & Comments