Maximus vs. Batman, Go! Seriously, that was the only thing passing through the minds of anyone who first saw the trailer for 3:10 to Yuma. Batman, I mean Christian Bale has been one of the most consistent forces in Hollywood. He has churned out hit after hit and built quite a rabid fan base. One of the other most consistent men in Hollywood over the past few years has been Russell Crowe. He hasn’t had what anyone could call a bad film since his breakout performance in Gladiator, except maybe for that film in 2006. That said, either of these guys could compete for postmaster-general; they just plain deliver. Now maybe 3:10 to Yuma can help me forget A Good Year…
Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is a rancher on the bad end of an Arizona drought. He is in danger of losing his ranch, and has already lost the respect of his wife and eldest son. His luck doesn’t exactly change when Bed Wade (Russell Crowe), rides into his small town. Wade had just pulled off another successful heist and further more solidified his reputation as a deadly gunslinger and all-around scoundrel. Dan agrees to help escort Wade to a train station, where he will travel to go on trial to be hung. For Dan, this is not a suicide mission. This is his last chance to save his ranch, and his family.
By saying that this film was a disappointment may be a bit misleading. Judging from the cast and the trailer, this looked to be one of my most anticipated films of this year’s last half. I expect an amazing movie filled with heart-pounding gunslinging action. What I found however, was still one of the finest examples of character development that you can find in American cinema. The writer’s development of both Evans and Wade was pulled off as beautifully and effortlessly as a skilled surgeon. The components of each character’s personality were slowly brought to the film’s forefront in unison, forcing each character into different perspectives. The film is filled with choices that blur the reality of good versus bad, or black and white. Each character’s true nature was exposed, for better or worse.
A slight downfall to the film though, would be pacing. The first forty-five minutes, or so, were dry and slow. That’s not to say that they weren’t filled with action, but those minutes felt just like any western I have ever seen. It wasn’t until Crowe took over and showed the audience his ugly side, did the film really pick up. The ending of the film is the crown jewel of the entire experience. The film takes an interesting and original turn when each character faces off with their own personal demons, instead of the good guy versus the bad guy ending we are all used to. Western epics only happen once every ten years or so, and 3:10 to Yuma brings back the western in a big way.
The best western since Dead Man or Unforgiven and certainly not your father’s Western, delivering a fresh new take on the old west. Unforgettable characters and intense gunfights make 3:10 To Yuma this fall’s must see movie.
The Upside: Christian Bale v. Russell Crowe. ‘Nuff said.
The Downside: It does move a little slow, even for a Western.
On the Side: During the press junket for Yuma, Christian Bale was bombarded with questions about both The Dark Knight and the heavily rumored Justice League movie. He finally responded by making up his own rumor, that Russell Crowe would be in The Dark Knight. Let’s chalk that one up to a little press junket fun, shall we.