Costner VS Mortenson Showdown

The Battle of the Cowboys: Costner vs. Mortensen

Let's Rewind Blogger! May 24, 2024

Forget about superheroes for a moment, folks. Two legendary actors are dusting off their boots and hats to bring back a classic genre—the Western. Kevin Costner and Viggo Mortensen are both releasing new films that could make cowboys cool again. But, they're taking two different trails to get there.

The Appeal of the Strong, Resilient Hero

At the heart of every great Western is the tough, rugged protagonist. These characters, epitomised by legends like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, embody values of self-reliance, grit, and unwavering determination. They're the kind of heroes who face down danger with a steely gaze and a steady hand.

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Kevin Costner—, no stranger to the genre with his iconic roles in Dances with Wolves and Open Range, understands the power of these characters. In Horizon, he's set to bring back the kind of hero who stands firm in the face of adversity, upholding justice and fighting for what’s right. In an age where "wokeness" is often criticised for softening traditional values, Costner's film could serve as a reminder of the strength and integrity that define true heroism.

But while Costner's film is a celebration of the classic Western hero, Mortensen's The Dead Don't Hurt takes a different approach. The film's protagonist is not a larger-than-life cowboy, but a flawed, human character struggling to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world. Mortensen's film is a reminder that the Western genre is not just about heroism and adventure, but also about the human condition and the struggles we all face.

Together, these two films showcase the versatility and enduring appeal of the Western genre. Whether you're a fan of classic cowboy heroes or gritty, realistic dramas, there's something in the Western for everyone. And with Costner and Mortensen at the helm, the genre is sure to continue thriving for years to come.

Costner's Epic Saga: Horizon

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. That's been Costner's motto for decades as he's tried to make his epic Western vision a reality. Finally, after years of Hollywood turning him down, Horizon: An American Saga is hitting the big screen. It's a massive, four-part film series that covers the American frontier.

Costner was so determined to make this movie that he even mortgaged his own property to fund it. He wants to celebrate traditional Western heroes—those tough, principled cowboys that kids look up to. The kind of guys who embodied bravery, honour, and good ol' American individualism.

But, not everyone is sold on the first part of the series. Some critics love the bold, grand scale of the movie, while others say the story is all over the place and lacks focus.

The sentiment I am seeing from the public is that they cannot wait to see this film in the theatres!

Mortensen's Intimate Tale: The Dead Don't Hurt

If Horizon is a loud, proud tribute to Western myths, Mortensen's directorial debut offers a different perspective. The acclaimed actor explores the genre through a more intimate, character-driven lens in The Dead Don't Hurt.

The movie centres on a tragic, frontier love story between a European immigrant woman and a Danish settler. There are no larger-than-life heroes in this tale - just flawed, very human characters.

The Trailer has also been bold enough to compare itself to Unforgiven and claims John Ford and Howard Hawkes would have been proud... bold statements indeed!

While the movie's scope is much smaller than Horizon, early reviews have been glowing. Critics are praising Mortensen's fresh take on Western tropes and the moral complexities of the characters.

A Crucial Moment for Westerns

These two wildly different, new films could be just what the Western genre needs to spark new interest. Costner's movie is a big-budget spectacle that celebrates iconic cowboy archetypes that millions of us grew up idolising.

On the other hand, Mortensen's movie challenges and deconstructs those same archetypes through a grounded, thought-provoking drama. Two very different approaches, but both equally important.

If even one of these movies is a hit, it could kick-start a Western revival and bring the genre into the modern era with new perspectives and ideas.

Let's not forget, folks, that Westerns have played a huge role in shaping America's ideals and values for generations. The ideas of rugged individualism, manifest destiny, and frontier justice are all deeply ingrained in the nation's cultural identity.

That lone cowboy hero simultaneously mythologized and critically examined the country's complicated legacy.

The big question is: Will Costner and Mortensen's bold, filmmaking visions re-establish the cowboy as a relevant hero for new generations? Or, will they expose the archetype as an outdated, dusty relic?

One thing's for sure: this showdown between two A-list actors is just what the Western genre needed to get back in the saddle and ride into town.


Richard Wells

I am the founder of The Rewind Zone, created in 2022. My passion for film knows no bounds! It is my goal through this medium to bring the wonders of film from a bygone era back into your lives.