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3:10 to Yuma

A 2007 movie starring Russell Crowe

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Understanding why Westerns are a National Treasure

  • Jan 9, 2008
Rating:
+5
If there is a truly unique American contribution to film making then that contribution has to be the Western. Though not as popular a theme these days as it was in past decades, it only takes a powerhouse film such as 3:10 TO YUMA to remind us just how pungent storytelling of this type can be. Yes, the story itself (based on a short story by Elmore Leonard) is rather simple: desperate farmer needs money to save his failing farm and family and signs on to escort a powerful outlaw to the train that will take him to prison. But in this screen adaptation by Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt, and Derek Haas the story is fleshed out by sharing with the audience the essence of the pioneer spirit and the sequelae of the Civil War on the minds of the dispossessed who turned to crime against the ruling order - the railroads and the banks represented the conquering North - and the film becomes one of profound understanding about man's plight in the pioneer West.

The landscape and atmosphere of Arizona is captured with dusty accuracy by cinematographer Phedon Papamichael and sets the stage for director James Mangold ('Girl, Interrupted', 'Walk the Line', 'Identity', 'Kate and Leopold', 'Cop Land') to work with his talented cast to give a realistic view of life in the hard times of the old West. Russell Crowe is the notorious outlaw Ben Wade whose gang includes such actors as Ben Foster and Rio Alexander and once he is captured during a robbery, the local sheriff promises to pay $200. to destitute, crippled farmer Dan Evans to escort the prisoner to Contention, AZ for catching a ride to the 3:10 to Yuma and prison. The connection between the two disparate men - Wade and Evans - is the message of the story and is beautifully enhanced by allowing the audience to understand both sides of 'the law'. The co-stars of the film include Gretchen Mol as Evans' wife and young Logan Lerman as Evans' impressionable son William, Dallas Roberts as the head of the bank investment at risk, Peter Fonda, Alan Tudyk, Vinessa Shaw and a large cast of the people who interplay in the drama.

Both Crowe and Bale give superlative performances, acting so cohesively that it would be difficult to single out either for the Oscar: this is ensemble acting at its finest. For once the added features enhance our appreciation of the tales from the Old West and how they became legends and the comments by the director, producers and cast actually make sense! The film will doubtless become a classic: it deserves the honor. Grady Harp, January 08

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November 19, 2010
Ben Foster was excellent in this, great flick.
 
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More 3:10 to Yuma reviews
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2011
This adequate remake of Delmer Daves' superb western substitutes Russell Crowe and Christian Bale for Glenn Ford and Van Heflin nearly fifty years after the release of the original. It could be said that these famous leads are underutilized in their respective roles; Crowe is persistently capable, Bale seemingly capable of anything and this movie is fairly undemanding in comparison to the usual rigor of their work. Even more than its predecessor, this movie's plot bears as many clever twists …
review by . October 14, 2009
Let me begin this review by stating that I have never seen the original 3:10 to Yuma, and that I am not a fan of Western movies. Having said that, I liked this movie, and thought it was one of the best movies of the year. Starring two great actors, and a host of smaller-name actors and actresses, this movie is part action, part drama, with a little bit of comedy and romance thrown in. The gun fight scenes are great, and very realistic. The storyline itself is very good with original characters. …
review by . January 10, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
This remake has little in common with the 1957 Glenn Ford classic of the same name.     The basic story is identical: Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is a hardscrabble rancher, down on his luck, trying to make a go of his dusty, drought-ridden ranch. He has borrowed from Hollander who wants Evans off the land so the railroad will buy it. (This doesn't make a lot of sense since the railroads were awash in federal land given to them.) Hollander has cut off Evans' water and Evans is …
review by . August 29, 2008
Now I will admit something right of the bat before I get into my review. I have only recently seen this movie and turned down a number of opportunities to watch this film simply because it is a western. I will now hold my hands up and say how wrong I was and after seeing the light I have to say, this has now taken over Pulp Fiction as my favourite movie EVER!!! From start to finish this film grabs hold of you and gives you a damn good shaking. The biggest point of this film is the general authenticity …
review by . January 29, 2008
Ok, so I'm certainly not much of a fan when it comes to westerns but 3:10 to Yuma gets me in the mood for them. This feels like Russell Crowe's best film since Gladiator and Christen Bales best film ever. In the beginning the movie starts with a blazing fire. Even though it starts off with such an exciting scene I started to doubt it for some reason. Christen Bale plays Dan Evans who is a hardworking rancher and former soldier trying to take care of his family. The problem is his land is in a drought …
review by . January 18, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Yes, it's a western, a remake, and yes, it's bloody and yes it's so terrific you will want to watch it again right after having finished it the first time.    Perfect acting by everyone. Russell Crowe is given the chance to show his amazing talent, to really dig into it. Christian Bale is marvellous as a father trying to make up for lost chances, finally doing it right.   But to me what struck me most, is the amazing talent of Logan Lerman who plays C. Bale's son. I …
review by . May 16, 2008
With his family on the brink of losing everything, Dan Evans (Christian Bale) agrees to help the Southern Pacific Railroad bring a wicked villain, Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), to justice. Justice happens to be at the train station in Contention, where Wade is expected to hitch a ride on the 3:10 to Yuma and imprisonment. The only things stopping Evans and his allies from making it to Contention is Wade himself and his vicious gang, headed up by the overprotective and violent Charlie Prince (Ben Foster). …
review by . January 27, 2008
With all the positive reviews for this film, I was expecting a lot better. Christian Bayle is a cattle rancher who witnesses a group of bandits robbing a bank coach. The lead robber (Russell Crowe) lets him go, however Bayle ends up joining a group of lawmen that are after the bandits for over 20 robberies.    There is a lot of cat and mouse between Crowe and Bayle and by the end they have developed a relationship that reminded me of Crowe and Denzel Washington in American Gangster. …
review by . January 12, 2008
The comparison is old but appropriate: The samurai flick and the western are first cousins. There's the cool hero, defined by his actions, but almost completely without essence. There's a sense of honor and dangerously violent threats to life and limb. Courage, honor and loyalty defend themselves and we are left to identify with them and share their triumph. It's all good, clean fun and the transfer between samurai and cowboy works so well that The Magnificent Seven didn't even bother to adapt the …
review by . January 09, 2008
I am not a fan of Westerns. I generally find them trite, cliche and silly. In fact, there was a time I would've said I hated Westerns, as well as Romantic Comedies and Musicals. Over time, however, I've learned that what I hate are bad movies, and while many Westerns are, this one is not.    This movie is often, and rightly, compared favorably to Clint Eastwood's amazing film Unforgiven (Two-Disc Special Edition). Like that film, "3:10 to Yuma" elevates itself beyond the standard …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Here's hoping James Mangold's big, raucous, and ultrabloody remake of 3:10 to Yuma leads some moviegoers to check out Delmer Daves's beautifully lean, half-century-old original. That classic Western spun a tale of captured outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford)--deadly but disarmingly affable--and the small-time rancher and family man, Dan Evans (Van Heflin), desperate enough to accept the job of helping escort the badman to Yuma prison. Wade, knowing that his gang will be along at any moment to spring him, works at persuading the ultimately lone deputy to accept a bribe, turn his back on "duty," and go home safe and rich to his family. That the outlaw has come to admire his captor intriguingly complicates the suspense. All of the above applies in the new 3:10, but it takes a lot more huffing and puffing to get Wade (Russell Crowe this time) and Evans (Christian Bale) into position for the showdown. Mostly, more is less. To Mangold's credit, his movie doesn't traffic in facile irony or postmodern detachment; it aims to be a straight-up Western and deliver the excitement and charisma the genre's fans are starved for. But recognizing that contemporary viewers might be out of touch with the bedrock simplicity and strength of the genre--not to mention its code of honor--Mangold has supplied both Evans and Wade with a plethora of backstory and "motivations." At the overblown action climax, the crossfire of personal agendas is almost as frenetic ...
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