Kevin Costner's 'Horizon' Epic Faces Harsh Criticism Despite Cannes Ovation

Kevin Costner's Horizon receives mixed reviews from critics

by Zain ul Abedin
Kevin Costner's 'Horizon' Epic Faces Harsh Criticism Despite Cannes Ovation
© Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Kevin Costner's latest movie, Horizon: An American Saga, has received harsh criticism from critics despite earning a 10-minute standing ovation at the 77th Cannes Film Festival. The epic Western, set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and the westward expansion, sees Costner, 69, not only starring but also serving as director, producer, and co-writer alongside Job Baird.

The actor was visibly moved by the audience's applause after the credits rolled. However, this initial praise has not been echoed by critics. The three-hour-long film has garnered scathing reviews and holds a dismal 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

This score reflects the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for the film. Since the movie has yet to be released to the public, it does not have an Audience Score, which measures user ratings. Critics have not held back in their assessments.

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair criticized the film, stating, "At least Horizon accomplishes one staggering feat: it makes one wonder if we were maybe a little too hard on The Postman." He described the film as "a jumble of clichéd plots rendered in washed-out color" and far from coherent.

Lawson's sentiments were echoed by Variety's Owen Gleiberman, who remarked that the film "doesn’t feel like a movie. It feels like the seedbed for a miniseries." He found the narrative convoluted and meandering, noting it lacked emotional impact.

Lee Marshall of Screen Daily also shared his negative view, commenting on the multitude of storylines that fail to engage before the film moves on. He described the movie as an "old-fashioned celebration of the pioneer spirit" but criticized its abrupt narrative pivots.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film a mere two out of five stars, criticizing its unresolved storylines and lack of excitement.

Mixed Reactions Persist

Despite the harsh reviews, there were some positive notes. Pete Hammond from Deadline Hollywood described Horizon as "an impressive beginning, with the promise of more to come." Robbie Collin of The Telegraph praised the film's script and its ability to build narrative depth through long, unhurried scenes.

Costner revealed in June 2022 his plans to create four Horizon films, shot back-to-back. While the second film finished production last summer, the third was paused due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. There's no official word on when the remaining chapters will premiere.

The star-studded cast includes Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Giovanni Ribisi, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Danny Huston, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jeff Fahey, Will Patton, Tatanka Means, Owen Crow Shoe, Ella Hunt, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Thomas Haden Church.

Costner's passion for the Wild West and American history has been evident in his previous works. He told People in November 2022, "A lot of times we measure ourselves against other generations. I think about what was at stake.

How did people survive? There's a rawness and an unpredictability about it. I'm haunted by that." Horizon: An American Saga Chapter One is set to premiere in theaters on June 28, with Chapter Two following on August 16.

Kevin Costner