Sunday, January 20, 2008

3:10 To Yuma

Dan Evans has a failing ranch, a family of four to support, a lot of debt on his back, and he's in a hell of a lot of trouble. Ben Wade is a wanted outlaw the railroads want to bring to justice for all the trouble he's caused them. When Evans signs up to help escort Wade to the prison train to Yuma for $200, he has no idea what he's getting himself into. Wade's ruthless gang will stop at nothing to hunt down their leader's captors to free him.

Evans is superbly played by Christian Bale, who gets too little recognition for his phenomenal roles. Russell Crowe plays the part of Ben Wade and the two make a fabulous, fabulous duo. The two onscreen together is beautiful to watch. When Evans' son gets mixed up in the whole affair, things turn from good to bad to ugly. Is Wade really all bad as he claims? He may just be. And there may be no way out for Evans, who becomes more and more trapped as the plot develops.

3:10 to Yuma is a western, but forget Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, this is like nothing you've ever seen. It's a western with new themes, new characters, and a new plot. Who would've thought THAT possible? Great directing and cinematography, and the script and story and plot are all top-notch. By the way, Ben Foster puts on a particularly great show as Wade's cutthroat right-hand man. You might see parts of yourself in these characters (I particularly loved Evans, Bale really nailed him), or you might not. But there are explosions and shoot-em-ups and even a horse chase. It's a guys action film but with enough drama and emotion for girls too. It's a film about reality and heroism and the courage to do what's right. And sometimes doing the right thing isn't just the most difficult, it might be the most dangerous too.

Conclusion: It's got two thumbs up from me and certainly will be on a top-something list of mine.

Rated: R for violence and some language

  • Russell Crowe, the director, and the producer, all specifically asked for Christian Bale to play Evans.
  • The weekend before shooting was scheduled to wrap, a freak storm dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on the supposedly drought plagued town. Laborers shoveled the snow from the buildings' balconies and roofs and distributed 89 dump trucks worth of dry soil on the ground.

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