Here’s What Critics Are Saying About Kevin Costner’s ‘Horizon’

horizon an american saga official trailer
What Critics Say About Kevin Costner’s ‘Horizon’Warner Bros.

Much hubbub is given to the length of the standing ovations every year at Cannes Film Festival. For what it's worth, Variety reports that audiences members stood for seven minutes after the credits rolled on Kevin Costner's Horizon: An American Saga this past Sunday. It's a good sign for "Chapter 1" of the planned four-part western epic. The Yellowstone star reportedly teared up, thanked his audience, and promised "three more" Horizon films.

But when critics filed their thoughts the following morning, reviews painted a very different portrait of Costner's exploits. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw quipped that Horizon is "three saddle-sore hours," while The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney claimed that the film "plays like a limited series overhauled as a movie." IndieWire's Ryan Lattanzio called Horizon the "dullest cinematic vanity project of the century," stating that "the movie's clumsy episodic structure leads you to believe that Costner may have been trying to out-Taylor Sheridan Taylor Sheridan."

Costner reportedly spent $38 million out of his own pocket to finance the $90 million project, which he both stars in and directs. Much like Francis Ford Coppola's Megalopolis—which also premieres at Cannes this month—some critics have called Horizon another big-budget Hollywood project gone wrong. It doesn't help that the film is also associated with Costner's exit from Yellowstone, either. The actor starred on Paramount's western hit for five seasons—until his feud with creator Taylor Sheridan abruptly delayed the final season of the series.

To Costner, the media tells a different story. "I don't know why it's so hard to get people to believe in the movie I wanted to make," he stated during a press conference. "I don't think anybody else's movie is better than mine. I made it for people. It's a pattern that happens with me—with Dances with Wolves, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Open Range—the things I want to make are harder to make.... My problem is that I don’t fall out of love with something that's good."

For all the heavy hits that Horizon took from critics, many viewers at the Cannes premiere still praised Costner's efforts. Even in a 2/5 review from's Robert Daniels—who revealed that Costner doesn't even appear in the first hour of the film—wrote, "Costner does at least include a diverse cast, nodding toward the presence of Black people and Chinese immigrants in the history of the West, tracing across the vast, sumptuously photographed landscape by DP J. Michael Muro." Likewise, Vulture's Bilge Ebiri called Horizon "Dune: Part One for Dads" (and not entirely in a bad way). "Horizon is a gorgeous, sprawling, and at times moving blast of old-fashioned storytelling—but for now, it's half a movie," Ebiri wrote. "It could be a TV series, of course, but it looks so great on the big screen that it really shouldn't be a TV series."

Horizon: An American Saga—Chapter 1 hits theaters next month on June 28, 2024. Though audiences at Cannes didn't get a peek, Chapter 2 will follow soon after on August 16. The film stars Sienna Miller (Anatomy of a Scandal), Sam Worthington (Avatar: The Way of Water), Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar: The Way of Water), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3), and former Yellowstone actor Danny Huston. For more Horizon reactions, check out a roundup below.

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