9.10.2007

3:10 to Yuma Movie Review

Despite being set in a post civil war Arizona frontier, 3:10 to Yuma is not a Western. And despite being riddled with shootouts it isn’t really an action film either. 3:10 to Yuma is actually pretty difficult to classify since it so adroitly avoids every label except one: that of a damn fine movie.

Much of the film’s versatility stems from masterful performances by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale that transcend genre stereotypes. Both actors play quietly desperate, resourceful men forced to confront each other from opposite sides of the law.

Kumbaya never sounded so good

Russell Crowe is notorious outlaw Ben Wade, a gang leader as intelligent and urbane as he is ruthless. Wade has stolen dozens of lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars during his nefarious career and as 3:10 begins, his latest robbery is set to increase both his totals. But then the most amazing thing happens.

The infamous Ben Wade is captured.

On the surface, 3:10 to Yuma is the story of a rag-tag group of men – Christian Bale among them – attempting to bring a fearsome killer to justice. But this description is as inadequate as “western” or “action film.” Each of the central characters are so complete, so complex, that watching their physical and mental struggles is engrossing beyond anything a frenzied chase or chaotic gunfight could hope to match.

This isn’t to say that 3:10 is a plodder of a movie. Chases, gunfights and tense standoffs abound but they never detract from the continued brilliance of Crowe, Bale, and the supporting cast.

Elmore Leonard penned the source material for 3:10 to Yuma back in 1953 and his short story was turned into a film just a few years later. This first adaptation starred Glenn Ford and Van Heflin and has been described as one of the best westerns ever filmed. Despite my aversion to labeling the newest version of 3:10 to Yuma as a Western, I don’t doubt that it’s even better than the first.

For those of you who have seen it, do you agree?

16 comments:

april said...

So this one good? Good, because then my $10 won't be wasted.

Matt said...

april - 3:10 to Yuma is the best movie I've seen all year. It's probably more of a "guy" movie, but it should cover a wide range of movie interests.

april said...

I just saw the trailer and now I want to see it all the more.
And so called "guy" movies are the type I like to watch most.

Anonymous said...

You are right about two things, it was not a Western, it was a comedy, and Russell Crowe gave such a great dramatic performance, no one realized it.

The entire movie is written for Ben Wade to easily defeat the hapless do gooders. It never occurs to them to shoot the slug, but they are more than willing to shoot anyone else who might injure the poor mass murderer,

I thought the 3 foot wide handcuffs were particularly funny, as was the "Resurrection" of the villian stampeded by a herd of cattle."

It makes a 'farce' of the original film and story, which also qualifies it for comedy of the year

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3:10 to Yuma Movie said...

The movie is directed by James Mangold with Ben Foster , Gretchen Mol , Arron Shiver . I saw some trailers of this film..Sounds to be fantastic film.

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