Top positive review
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Storytelling at its best
on 20 October 2002
I read recently that Kevin Costner doesn't like the usual (what he regards as short ) running time of movies. Since the ground breaking Dances With Wolves he has tended to extend running time enabling his movies to get to grips with a true narrative style, where he takes the audience deep into the world of the central character and allows us the privilege of "living the life" of the character along with them. This has the effect of giving the movie a more "natural" feel, allowing the audience to
identify with the character at quite a deeper level than is usual with movies of 90 minutes or so in length. This approach has worked particulary well with this movie, and (without spoiling the plot for new viewers), it is fair to say that because of life events Earp matured into both a complex and serious character.
One of the enduring qualities of this movie is that Costner doesn't play Earp as the consummate hero of the Wild West. He is a human being with all the failings and insecurities of those around him and is not portrayed as an unbeatable gunslinger. All credit to Costner, the director, the producers and everyone involved for taking this approach.
What does set Earp apart however, according to the narrative here, is his strength of character. The question we have to ask ast the end of the movie is was that strength of character ultimately beneficial or detrimental to Earp and the members of his family?
So all in all a thought provoking movie on one of the greatest legends of the Old West, and one that has prompted me to want to read further about the enigmatic Earp. A special mention must also go to Dennis Quaid for his excellent portrayal of Doc Holliday.