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3:10 to Yuma

A 2007 movie starring Russell Crowe

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Redefining what a Western can be

  • Jan 9, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+5
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 bang-bang, shoot-'em-up style of Western to become something better and much more interesting.

You're likely familiar with the plot. Poor rancher decides to escort hardend criminal to a small town in Arizona so the bad-guy can get onto a train and go face a hanging. The rancher isn't really thrilled about doing this, but does it partly for the money, partly for honor and partly to redeem himself in the eyes of a teenage son who thinks his pa is a moron and a coward and worships the criminal in question.

As the movie advances both the rancher and the criminal wind up developing something of a respect for each other, and it's particularly fascinating to see where this takes them. As the two make their final dash for the train, one wonders how much effort the criminal is putting into escaping and how much he's putting towards helping the rancher get him to the train.

One of the only flaws with this otherwise fine movie is that I would've liked some explanation for what brought Crowe's character to the point he's in. Clearly he's a smart man, far smarter than those in his gang. He obviously has at least some grasp of homor and a vague sense of right and wrong. Why did he end up becoming a criminal when he could've been so much more? Perhaps he's a simple sociopath? That would go some distance to explaining some of the seemingly odd choices he makes at the end of the film.

The cinematography is excellent, and the acting is top-notch, as one would expect with Crowe and Bale. It'll be interesting, come Oscar time, to see how badly this movie gets snubbed (since I doubt it will get anything other than technical nominations). But even if the Academy is not big on this film, I certainly am, and wholeheartedly recommend it.

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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 09, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #60
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … 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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