Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

In a decade of disappointing films made by clueless children and greedy studios, Horizon surprises as being among the worst.
41/10032062
Starring
Keving Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington
Director
Kevin Costner
Rating
R
Genre
Drama, Western
Release date
June 28, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Story/Plot
Visuals/Cinematography
Performance
Direction
Non-Wokeness
Rating Summary
With Waterworld and The Postman among his far-reaching resume, Kevin Costner is no stranger to multi-million dollar boondoggles. However, Horizon makes those disappointing films look like Ben-Hur by comparison. Its substandard and wooden performances, childish dialogue, and amateurish character development are amplified by a magnitude by its arrogantly long runtime and laughable attempt at being an epic.

Instead of being the next Unforgiven or even Wyatt Erp, Horizon: An American Saga - Chapter 1 is the Rebel Moon of Westerns.
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Although their popularity waned in the latter part of the 20th century, Westerns have been a staple of American cinema since the early 1900s, with early silent films like “The Great Train Robbery” (1903) laying the groundwork for the genre. No stranger to this distinctly American niche,  especially after his role as the harsh and unforgiving Dutton patriarch in Yellowstone, Kevin Costner tries to continue the tradition of the Great American Western with Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1.

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 is set in the 1860s during the Civil War. It follows various Western archetypes who journey to the American West to build new lives and find their fortune. However, the Apache tribe, already there, is unhappy about the settlers encroaching on their land. The movie introduces characters and locations that will no doubt be key to the four planned movies, exploring generations of settlers and Indigenous people struggling to survive in the American West.

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Horizon: An American Saga Review

Horizon is filled with sweeping shots of the ever-stunning American West. Its vistas, both beautiful and harsh, serve as the film’s unsung hero because, short of that and the obvious care and thought that went into the set construction and costuming, there isn’t much else good to say about the film.

For even as beautiful as the scenery may be, the cinematography is a stylistic neuter. Meant to be a generationally spanning epic, scenes are framed like a movie of the week, with unnecessary close-ups and a multitude of quick cuts when panoramic wide shots and lingering single shots would have better told the story and given the film its intended scope.

Arguably, Horizon’s greatest weakness is its lack of cohesion. Instead of a contiguous narrative with subplots that build and support its central narrative, Horizon is a fractured series of disjointed vignettes with little time spent on developing their characters or individual elements. Its bizarre structure makes it virtually impossible to bond with characters or events and robs the story of all momentum and the audience of any sense of the passage of time. In one scene, a woman’s family is murdered, and in another, days, months, or years later (who can tell?), she’s falling in love with another man. In another, a young girl introduced in an earlier tragic scene is now in love with a random soldier who is going to war, and the film expects us to care… because.

Combined with an incredibly generic “Western” score and performances that are a grabbag of amateurish and barely passable (often thanks to some very unnatural dialogue), not to mention pacing that wished it could reach turtle speeds, Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 never peaks in quality beyond that of a middling TV mini-series.

 

WOKE ELEMENTS

What Make The Red Man Red
  • Every group of Indian-hating white men has one among them whose sole purpose is to remind them and the audience that not all tribes are the same.
    • Sam Worthington’s character continually and clunkily refers to the Indians as “Indigenous.”

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James Carrick

James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.

3 comments

  • Aloysius T. McKeever

    July 9, 2024 at 8:35 pm

    Yikes!!!

    Reply

  • Omen Bird

    July 10, 2024 at 5:40 am

    Ok, the only thing I agree with this review is that the romance elements are done in a juvenile fashion, as per Hollywood/post-sexual revolution standards.

    Otherwise I thought all the acting and cinematography was great. I wasn’t bothered by the disconnected stories because I knew going in that the movie would be abnormal in this regard, and it would be a slow setup for the continuation. Going to the theater to enjoy 3 hours of high quality western was a joy. And I didn’t find the movie slow at all, the multiple storylines kept the pace and intrigue up all the time.

    If you love westerns I really recommend going to the theater to watch it. 3 hours of western bliss!

    6
    1

    Reply

  • Josh777

    July 14, 2024 at 11:43 pm

    ONE OF THE WORST MOVIES I’VE EVERY SEEN!!!

    Reply

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