‘Yellowstone’ Review: Kevin Costner Plays Cowboy in Taylor Sheridan’s Brutal Western Trainwreck

IndieWire | 6/19/2018 | Staff
Click For Photo: http://www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Yellowstone-1.jpg?w=780

In some ways, “Yellowstone” is an embodiment of Taylor Sheridan’s core attributes as a writer. Lush, rolling landscapes set the scene for a starkly violent story. Beautiful actors are torn down to their barest forms, depicting rugged men and women who couldn’t care less about box office totals or post-premiere parties. These are real people with meaningful priorities; priorities bigger than themselves.

In “Sicario,” it’s one woman trying to find justice in an unjust war. In “**** or High Water,” it’s two brothers robbing banks in order to get by in a broken economy. In “Yellowstone,” Sheridan broadens his scope to an entire family — presumably, to provide more narrative fodder for television’s elongated stories — and the larger-than-life force they’re working for and against is the land itself. The Duttons have made Montana their home and intend to keep it that way, no matter what a prosperous and power-hungry contingent of indigenous Americans have to say about it.

Conflict - Sheridan - Way - Focus - Yellowstone

Yet it’s in this centuries-old conflict that Sheridan loses his way, as well as his expanded focus. So much of “Yellowstone” seems needlessly morbid and painfully paced. It’s like a car wreck in slow-motion, which makes the opening scene of a fatal collision between trucks and horse trailers all the more telling. Jarring in its compositions — and featuring one shot viewers won’t soon forget — the series’ introduction doesn’t really earn its brutality. Death haunts the first three episodes, though rarely are any of them felt so much as they’re manifested for the prestige of it all.

Kevin Costner in “Yellowstone”

Kevin - Costner - John - Dutton - Cowboy

Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton, an absurdly wealthy cowboy who owns the largest contiguous cattle ranch in America. A widower and father of four children, John’s money doesn’t keep him from being a man of the people — swinging into cattle auctions...
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