3:10 to Yuma
Running Time: 122 minutes
Starring: Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Alan Tudyk, Ben Foster, Gretchen Mol, Luce Rains, Kevin Durand, Dallas Roberts
Directed By: James Mangold
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
A down on his luck cattle rancher has to escort a criminal boss cross country to Yuma for trial. The problem is the criminal’s crew will not let their boss go that easily.
Long gone are the days where westerns ruled the silver screen. The likes of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne have been basically replaced by robots and superheroes and anything else that can be computer generated. They are not big business anymore so when the odd one does come out I get to enjoy a truly underappreciated and dying genre. I have long said you need two things to make a western work. The first is a good lead and in this case it is Dan Evans played very well by Christian Bale. The second a strong bad guy and in this case it is the infamous Ben Wade played brilliantly by Russell Crowe. Everything else in a western can be built around these two things and a lot can be forgiven when those two roles are properly cast. The cover of this movie deems it to be the best western since Unforgiven and I would have to agree with that statement. 3:10 to Yuma is a seamless blend of drama and action that unfolds in late 19th century Arizona. The story centers around Dan Evans and his family struggling to make ends meet on his cattle farm. In order to save his farm Dan offers to escort Ben Wade with a small group of others to Yuma for trial and execution. Ben Wade leads a group of outlaws that will rob anything that turns a profit and he must answer for these crimes. Wade has made his men rich time and time again so when he is captured it is up to his group of outlaws to save him. It is on this journey to Yuma where the movie gets very interesting. It is in the dialogue and interaction between Evans and Wade that really force you to like this movie. See it is natural for one to be pulling for Evans as he is down on his luck good guy and people love the underdog. However Wade is so charismatic in a malevolent type of way that you almost want him to escape his captors. You are pulled constantly through this film on both sides of good and evil and that’s why this film worked so well. The film is well cast with Tudyk, Mol, and Durand providing solid supporting roles but all were outshone by Ben Foster playing Wade’s deranged evil sidekick Charlie Prince. Prince is a character to fear by his eyes alone but was truly a great addition to this film and added a nice wildcard into the mix with his lunatic tendencies. I would point out that Luke Wilson was in this film for some reason. While it would be easy to bash on his terrible performance it is easier to say he never should have been cast in a western in the first place. When journeying in the old west things can happen and this film was no different. Whenever the movie seemed to hit that slow part something would revitalize it so the film never dragged. The slow journey across the barren land was worth the trek to make it to a truly great classic shootout worthy of this type of film. This was Director James Mangold first foray into the Wild West and for the true western lovers out there I hope it is not his last. I give this movie a big recommendation as they might be hanging Ben Wade in the morning before the night is done but that is a journey you won’t want to miss.
T Factor + If you like westerns this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like more action packed movies this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Unforgiven, Appaloosa