horizon michael rooker
Screenshot: Andy Greskoviak Twitter

Fans have been quite disappointed with Kevin Costner’s self-financed western epic, Horizon.

The first in a four-part series, the initial offering was a box office failure, only raking in $11 million on opening weekend.

For the record, that’s less than a third of the $38 million Costner himself ponied up to make his vision come alive.

Now, of course, people are looking for explanations. Or excuses. Or blame.

Actor Michael Rooker, who plays the Irish Sgt. Major Thomas Riordan, thinks he knows what’s to blame.

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One thing about Horizon: it’s a slow burn. And I mean slow. This is a film. You are meant to be immersed in it and teleported beyond your suspension of disbelief.

It’s not like a Marvel movie, with 4,000 jump cuts in a two-hour span. It has long, winding shots. Huge panoramas. Realistic conversations that might happen between real people.

And that’s what has Michael Rooker hot under the collar. He thinks the Tiktokification of society has destroyed our ability to determine good taste.

Speaking to TMZ about the film after opening weekend numbers came out, Rooker had this to say:

“It’s real cinema, folks. Be prepared. We ain’t used to that […]. We’re used to 90-minute movies. Everything is 90 minutes. Give me a break. Get over that […]. Let’s watch a movie that actually tells a story where you learn about the people and grow to like them or hate them. It’s not all fast and cut, cut cut.”

The TMZ reporter asked him about this Tiktokification and the extinction of American attention spans, and he doubled down: “They got to get over that crap. They got to learn how to watch real cinema, please.”

I couldn’t agree more. Pacing isn’t Horizon’s problem.

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The Problem With Horizon

Now, understand, I’m no movie expert. I just love watching movies and I’ve seen an absurd amount in my lifetime.

Pacing isn’t the problem with Horizon. In fact, that’s one of it’s many strong points. There’s a Tarantino-esque emphasis on dialogue for good measure. You’re not being rushed in and out of the theater.

The problem is hard to define. Was this originally shot as a series, and then edited into it’s current form? How much, exactly, was shot before this first part was cut?

Contra Rooker, the problem with Horizon is cuts, just not fast ones. Despite the three-hour runtime and the slow pace, we’re introduced to various and sundry characters in different locations and different times, and you never really get to know any of them.

You can’t help but feel that something went wrong either in production or the editing room, but you can’t exactly put your finger on it. It’s missing something, and I think that something is connection to the characters.

Now let’s be real – this could all be cleared up with the subsequent movies, and Costner’s only sin would be how he cut the final products.

But speaking of Costner, like Rooker, he’s quite unhappy with the critics. He’s reportedly “supremely annoyed” by their castigations of his baby.

In the final tally, Part 1 of Horizon doesn’t stand on its own. But maybe that’s fine. It’s an experience to watch. We will have a better idea come August, when Part 2 hits theaters.

And to Mr. Costner: remember the most important critics are the ones who buy tickets.

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