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original title: 3:10 to Yuma
duration: 2h 2min
tags: Time waits for one man
keywords: outlaw, arizonaterritory, contentioncityarizona, yumaterritorialprison, globearizona, tucsonarizona, pinalcityarizona, bensonarizona, train, arizonadesert, rancher, stagecoach, homoeroticism, surrende
So,I suppose it should come as no surprise that instead of making a new Western,the producers of this film decided to bring back this story,culled off an Elmore Leonard short and scripted by Halstead Welles,Michael Brandt and Derek Haas,directed by JAmes Mangold(the able director of Walk the Line). The story of how the paths of two men--the moral,gimped rancher DAn Evans(Christian BAle,another chameleon-like turn)and the calm,measured,cold-blooded and mostly amoral thief and killer Ben Wade(Russell Crowe,like Bale,just shape-shifting into another distinct and strong character)--cross is something as old as High Noon or Shane(particularly the slow build-up of the confrontation between Evans and the small band of locals who are attempting to take Crow to the eponymous train to prison,and Wade's brutal gang),but the saltier language and the drawn out character study make this as contemporary as any other movie genre in this era.
Some strong turns by Ben Foster(getting a little TOO good at playing creepy and scary,as a clearly sociopathic and clever second-in-command to Crowe's Wade),Logan Lerman(As the rancher's son),Gretchen Mol(as the rancher's wife),Peter Fonda(As a grizzled Pinkerton bounty hunter)and Alan Tudyk(as a timid Vet who goes along for the ride) give character to this movie. While I cannot call it5 a great movie or a favorite of mine,I found this movie impressive in its scope,feel and intensity,and can't help but feel like if future Westerns(whether original or remade)are put together like this one,I think the genre may see a new up-tick in viewer-ship. In the meantime,3:10 is mostly a rarity,but to me(and I suspect to many moviegoers),a rare film(or anything in general)is seen as a good thing,and that's how I feel for this film. Russell Crow was born to play an outlaw. This is the best role I've seen him in since A Beautiful Mind, making up for a few clunkers, and despite his high profile recently for an apparent attempt to make the Australian Olympic free-style phone chucking team, I found him utterly compelling as Ben Wade, in this good Western remake. Or perhaps it's because of his high profile for being a bad boy, that he seems born to play this part. Either way, I loved the movie, I loved Russell Crowe in the movie, and I loved just about everyone else in it too! This was a blissful two hours in Santa Cruz' Del Mar Theater for me.
3.10 to Yuma is that very rare endangered species - a remake that actually works. It is very well cast, with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale squaring off as the Bad Boy and the Good Guy in a classic Western. I've been a sucker for Westerns since I was a little kid and watched Bonanza with string stirrups and reins festooned around a dining room chair. I was born 100 years too late and the wrong sex; I should have been a cowboy.
As in all the best Westerns, the plot is not overly complex and I'm not going to attempt cheap psychological analysis. This is a movie about the people, rather than the plot, so it allows the actors to get their teeth into their characters. Dan Evans (Christian Bale) volunteers to help escort prisoner Ben Wade to Yuma, to be put on the prison train which will take him to custody. Evans is a Civil War veteran, injured but surviving. He is running a small ranch with his supportive wife and two half grown sons, and fighting off the wicked railroad barons who want his land. Times are tough. He takes the escort job because he needs the money. His older son William gets in on the act too, turning it from a dangerous escort duty into a dangerous escort duty with parenting duty thrown in too, but it never descends too far into clich辿. This is yet another great part for Christian Bale, who just goes from strength to strength. He is rapidly becoming one of my favorite actors. He squares off against Crowe's outlaw Ben Wade, an intelligent survivor who leads a gang of train robbers. The showdown in Yuma is a classic of almost High Noon proportions, and all concerned can feel satisfied that they have produced a Western to match any of the old greats.
The whole cast was good, but worth mentioning are Ben Foster, whom I found utterly chilling as Ben Wade's sidekick, Gretchen Mol as Mrs Evans and Logan Lerman, as William. Under Mangold