“Horizon. Chapter One”: Kevin Costner’s failure.  The caravan goes no further
  • Kevin Costner He is the director, co-writer, producer and actor of one of the main roles in the film “Horizon: Chapter One”. The production is a grand epic story of the settlement of Western America.
  • To finance such an expensive project, Costner had to mortgage his coastal property in Santa Barbara.
  • The project took more than 35 years to implement. Costner commissioned the script in 1988.
  • The film, which premieres in Poland on June 28, is the first part of an epic saga. The next part will hit cinemas in August. Two more are planned to be built.

One thing is undeniable about Kevin Costner, who appears here as director, co-writer, producer and actor. He had thrown himself into the deep end, perhaps even into the depths of the Mariana Trench. The vision he set with the project depicting the history of American settlement was intended to be so powerful and striking that he had no choice but to produce it himself.

Especially since he didn’t think it would be appropriate to break it into three hours, and eventually maybe twelve or so. As a result, the first act of this saga, at least visually, is actually a three-hour prologue, which is unfortunately a very boring one. Introducing later characters, without any order or structure, without creating any reasonable narrative axis. Everything follows a similar pattern. We see a caravan traveling through the American wilderness, preparing to establish a settlement, an attack by Indians, and finally regrouping after losses. And so on actually.

Everything fits into the picture, because it is difficult to deny that the film crew paid attention to every detail and costume of this historical story, and unfortunately it is even worse with the narration itself. The Western “Horizon. Chapter One” can be viewed in this way – it is a strictly codified American genre that at the same time uses specific icons, styles and solutions.

In fact, except for the amazing scenes of duels between settlers and Indians, there is no sight or sound of anything after that. However, this is very surprising to me, because Kevin Costner is no novice at this. Both as an actor and director. After all, he made one of the most beautiful films of the early 1990s, “Dances with Wolves” (1990), or even the “Yellowstone” series depicting the contemporary American frontier. So he seemed to be imbued with the Western spirit.

Perhaps this will just be an unsuccessful start and “Horizon” will be a full-fledged project. Because I have the impression that it is closer to the story of a TV series than an independent film. However, the first chapter definitely lacked excitement, which is something we would like to follow up on and make us look forward to the next part. For now, we’re getting a history lesson, and not the most interesting one at that. It’s a shame, because the potential was there, especially since the cast included, among others: Sienna Miller, Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson and Will Patton. I don’t know how much real estate wealth Kevin Costner has, but I’m nervous for his advisor.


Cuba Armata, Cannes

“Horizon: Chapter One” (Horizon: An American Epic – Chapter One), dir. Kevin Costner, USA 2024, Distributor: Monolith Films, Premiere in cinema: June 28, 2024.

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