Friday, September 7, 2007

A Western Worth Your Time

3:10 to Yuma

Release 09/07/2007
Rated R
1 hour, 57 minutes


About fifty years ago, a short story by Elmore Leonard was made into a film. Today director James Mangold (*Cop Land) releases his remake of that film. The story follows humble rancher Dan Evans, played by Christian Bale (The Prestige), who goes to confront his guarantor over the impending loss of his land only to come face to face with the notorious outlaw Ben Wade. Wade, portrayed by Russell Crowe (*The Quick and the Dead) has just completed his twenty-second robbery of the railroad coffers but is soon captured. The railroad offers Evans $200 to be one of five men to escort Wade to Contention where he can board the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. Desperate for money and respect, Evans takes the job.

Mangold has a knack for directing stories in such a way that you become riveted to every moment, no matter how mundane. Part of his ability comes from wielding actors that can equally rise to the task of engaging the audience. Always the consummate actor, Bale transforms into the decent hard-working rancher with an inner fire. Bale boils with a desire to be respected. His guarantor, Hollander, dismisses him; Wade misjudges him, and even his own son balks at his orders. Evans’s curious yearning draws an interesting contrast to Wade. Like a classic Henry Fonda outlaw, Crowe plays Wade as a man with some culture and knowledge, a man with enough smarts to believe that killing a man is no more difficult than putting on your boots.

Speaking of Fonda, Henry’s son Peter (Ghost Rider) takes on a supporting role as Wade’s surly, grizzled nemesis Byron McElroy. Another supporting actor worth his salt is Alan Tudyk (*Serenity) who plays Doc Potter, another hand enlisted in Wade’s escort. One last up-and-coming actor that’s been on my radar and should be on yours is Ben Foster (Hostage), who plays Wade’s right-hand man, Charlie Prince, who drives the gang to rescue their callous leader. These three actors work in chorus with the stars to create an emotionally stirring film with western grit.

Dirty Undies
No western can hold water without shoot-outs and death. While there is no undertaker measuring up the gunmen before their stand-offs, “Yuma” makes you disturbingly aware of the lethal intentions of Wade and his crew. Countless men are left to die in the dusty streets and canyons of the West. The language isn’t abundant but the venomous attitudes of the speakers can still unnerve you even when their words aren’t so foul.

The Money Shot

Carefully crafted and excellently executed, “3:10 to Yuma” is a film that you won’t soon forget. Crowe and Bale once again prove that if they are in it, you should’ve already bought your ticket.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. "Crowe and Bale once again prove that if they are in it, you should’ve already bought your ticket."

    Obviously you haven't seen that "Good Year" POS that Crowe put out last year (or was it this year?).

    Oh wait, neither have I. ;)

  2. Haha! After writing this line, that was the first movie that came to my mind! But never saw it, so I can claim ignorance. :-)