Saturday, 19 September 2020
3:10 to Yuma
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 00:00
In my opinion the Western genre is overdue for a revival, and lucky for us this fall looks like the season for a showdown. The first of two westerns slated for release this fall, 3:10 to Yuma shoots with a forceful accuracy that had me riveted.

Christian Bale plays Dan Evans, a dignified rancher and family man for whom working the land has become a matter of pride. Drought and debt have left him powerless to stop railroad developers from charting a course right through his property. Russell Crowe is a roguish outlaw named Ben Wade who, along with his gang of misfits, has made a fortune robbing the rail owners. What Wade lacks in morals he makes up for in charisma. In his words he “likes to keep things easy”, by which he means easy for himself of course.

After witnessing a massacre staged by Wade, Evans gets embroiled in a situation that could mean the end of his troubles or maybe the end of his life. He volunteers to escort the captive Wade and send him on the 3:10 train to Yuma prison in exchange for $200 which would settle his debt. Along the way the two rivals develop an unusual fascination and respect for one another. Tension mounts as the time ticks down and no one is safe until Wade boards that train.

It may be a remake of a 1957 classic, but nothing about this film feels reheated. The screen practically pops with a fresh energy and that rewarding feeling of work well done. The beautiful filming captures the majestic backdrop of the American West wonderfully. Watching this movie it isn’t hard to imagine how lonely and dangerous a place it must have been, from the barren terrain to the shabby townships.

See this movie if for nothing other than the performances. Russell Crowe is brilliant in his portrayal of the morally bereft outlaw. Like him or not Crowe is one of the most talented actors of his generation. In fact, so is Christian Bale who easily keeps stride with his co-stars strong performance. The two easily play off of each other, bringing more depth to each scene than the script would have allowed with lesser actors. I have a strong sense we’ll see these names cropping up during Oscar season.

The supporting cast is too great to mention everyone, but standouts include the formidable Peter Fonda and Logan Lerman who plays Bale’s 14-year-old son. Character development is important throughout this movie and this boy goes from a typical disobedient brat to become a pivotal part of unfolding events. With the mentors he got to work with it will be interesting to see what this boy makes of his career.

Another great character is that of Charlie Prince, Wades’ somewhat ambiguous right-hand-man. Charlie is loyal to a fault, verging on an almost unhealthy obsession with his “boss”. Dallas Roberts play this character with a soft manner that belies his murderous intent.
The filmmakers had something special here and, given the quality and attention to detail, they knew it. 3:10 to Yuma is that rare combination of a movie that makes you think but is a sheer pleasure to watch. I definitely recommend this one. I give 3:10 to Yuma 8 out of 10 stars.