All aboard the ‘3:10 to Yuma’
|Posted Sept. 21, 2007|
“They’re gonna hang me in the morning,” Tucker sang tauntingly, leaning back and leering at the outlaw Ben Wade.
Wade stares at his offending captor with a silent menace. “I’ll never see the sun again.”
Scenes such as these capture the gritty intensity of transporting an outlaw such as Wade in the movie, “3:10 to Yuma,” a remake of the 1957 western.
Wade, the epitome of a tough-as-nails western villain, fends off enraged, Apache Indians, other men that hold a grudge against him, and of course, the outlaw’s own posse.
Dan Evans, played by Christian Bale, is a farmer down on his luck, fighting unsuccessfully for his land.
His eldest son disrespects him, and his wife is becoming increasingly distant.
Facing foreclosure he volunteers to help transport Wade to a train en route to Yuma for $200.
As an honest Civil War veteran, Bale plays a decent man, who is just worried about his family.
Bale convincingly portrays Evans as a man with an intense determinedness.
Throughout the film Evans fervently believes that what he is doing will not only help his ailing and troubled family, but also will turn into a celebrated act of justice.
Wade, portrayed powerfully by Russell Crowe, is an unabashed killer and thief.
One of the bandits in his posse is the cold hearted, vicious Charlie Prince, whose loyalties know no bounds concerning his idol Wade.
Crowe has the ability to adapt himself into his role and character very well. Smug, sarcastic with a cold, murderous mentality, Wade definitely deserves his role as leader of his posse.
After successfully waylaying an armored carriage from a bank, Wade gets caught in a saloon and arrested.
Where most modern day western movies flounder with bad casting, acting and dialogue, “3:10 to Yuma” is a refreshing breath of air. Evans tolerates Wades’ rebellious behavior, continuing to march forward, and Wade, incredulous at this sense of justice, seems to develop a sense of respect for the one-legged war veteran.
But Evans himself is not without his faults. Perhaps the most moving scene is when Evans struggles to stay on the high road, even as Wade tempts him relentlessly with the offer of $1,000 in cash – much more than his rate for the transport, just for releasing him.
No other actor played the true villain of this story, Prince, as well as Ben Foster.
Prince is an antagonist that has not been seen for some time on the silver screen.
He shows admiration toward Wade to the point of borderline infatuation, but at the same time is brutal and relentless.
His acts range from burning a man alive in a carriage, to paying $200 to anyone in the town that can shoot and kill one of Wade’s captors.
The scene where Prince is sitting on his horse on a hill that also served as a graveyard was perhaps the most chilling, ominous scene from a movie this year.
The action scenes were also well played.
The climactic gunfight in the town of Contention, where the train arrives, is actually plausible and not much blood is shown.
There were a few downsides of course, where at the end it was played out to be a Russell Crowe movie, rather than as a moving story about justice and conviction.
This film is definitely not a movie to miss out on, and could possibly be one of the best summer movies.
If “3:10 to Yuma” does not get nominated for an Oscar, there is indeed little justice in the film industry.
Dan Sayles can be reached at email@example.com.