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3:10 to Yuma (2007)

September 10th, 2007 by Maxim · No Comments · 8,831 Views

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4/5

It’s nice to see the revival, or a come back, of the Western genre. I have seen the 1957 version, and not 50 years later this remake brought Elmore Leonard’s short story back to the screen. Watch the trailer.

The plot: one-legged civil war veteran Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is in dire straits as powerful landlord tries to push him out of his Arizona ranch to use his land for railroad. But when the “baddest” gangster Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is caught, Dan volunteers to escort him to the 3:10 train to Yuma prison for a fee of $200. But the rest of the gang are after them to get their boss back.

When the guns go blazing the movie becomes most entertaining. Movie was slow at times and made me look at my watch at least trice, but for the most part the pace of the movie is just fine. The scenery and props were not that exciting: in many ways they were a lot like old Hollywood westerns where everything was shot in the pavilion or stage set – seems to me everything was shot on no more then four locations. It’s standard for movie reviews to talk about the chemistry between main characters, but I don’t think Christian Bale and Russell Crowe quite connected. Although Russell Crowe adds weight and charisma to any movie, in my humble opinion best acting was by Logan Lerman, who played Dan Evans’s teenage son, William. William sneaked out of the house to follow and protect his father on the trip to Yuma train. He is so hot-headed and always lets emotions drive his actions, but I loved to watch how a boy becomes man throughout the movie. Outstanding job! Russell Crowe’s character was also interesting to watch: he behaves like he knows that someone is writing a book (or a dime novel?) about him, and he constantly watches people, appears to be a philosopher and makes pencil drawings. And he is way smarter then the animals that are his gang members. Ben Foster deserves a special mention for his great performance in the role of a villain Charlie Prince, Wade’s gang’s second-in-command.

Compared to another recent Western, Kevin Costner’s “Open Range”, which had beautiful scenery shots, dumb and unbelievable dialogue throughout the movie that lead to a gunfight in the end, this is a much better Western. Better even then the original 1957 movie – mostly due to deeper characters and moral message. Director James Mangold keeps surprising with his choice of genres for his movies. Clearly he is very capable and versatile young director with great movies (except  “Kate & Leopold”) on his resume: from “Heavy” to “Girl Interrupted” to “Walk The Line”.

Some parts of the movie were lost to me, probably due to blunders in either writing or editing. For example, Ben Wade was mentioning a girl with green eyes he used to know many years ago: first to the lady at the bar, which got him laid, but then also to Alice Evans (Gretchen Mol), Dan Evans’s wife. One woman was brunette, the other – blond. Considering the chances of meeting someone again in a different state should have been pretty slim, and also remembering only eyes of all other things, the green-eyed girl thing in this context sounded like a lousy pick-up line.

All-in-all, an entertaining Western with interesting characters and nice shootouts. I am afraid I wrote too much about odd or negative things in this movie, but it’s actually a good quality film, and I look forward to seeing it again on DVD and TV.

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Rated 4/5 on Sep 10 2007
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Tags: Drama · Movies · Westerns

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