January 24, 2008

3:10 to Yuma - $9

3:10 to Yuma is visually stunning, almost flawlessly acted and extremely well written. I'm not big on westerns but this one was fantastic.

3:10 to Yuma is the story of Dan Evans, a poor but good man who is struggling to keep money lenders he is in debt to from taking his ranch. Evans happens to be around when a ruthless outlaw named Ben Wade is captured and in exchange for money he offers to help escort Wade to the train which will take him to the Yuma prison. A very unusual relationship is formed between these two men and throughout the movie the ragtag group escorting Wade is constantly hunted by Wade's gang.

I am hard pressed to pick out anything about 3:10 to Yuma that I have a significant criticism for. Each and every character brought something to this story for me. Often in Westerns most of the characters are two dimensional but not so in this movie. There is an average family thrust into an extraordinary situation, villains who seem to be good people and vice versa and of course the main characters, Dan Evans and Ben Wade.

Evans and Wade are rugged western cowboys perfectly portrayed by Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, an Englishman and an Aussie respectively. Their chemistry carries long moments in this movie which revolves mostly around them. I'll save my highest praise for my favorite performance of all though, the leader of Wade's gang in his absence, Charlie Prince. He is young, quirky and borderline psychotic and his loyalty to Wade keeps him chasing Wade's captors at all costs. Prince is played by Ben Foster in what I consider to be the best individual performance in a Western since Val Kilmer brought us Doc Holiday.

My only mild criticism for this story is the initial distaste for his Father that one of Evans' sons has. The level of the dislike seems unwarranted and poorly explained, though the young actor portrayed it convincingly.

3:10 to Yuma is a must see, even if you don't love the genre. It probably would have made my top 5 for 2007 if I hadn't waited until 2008 to see it. I put it on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $9.


Bryce Ashlin-Mayo said...

I've been meaning to see this movie but will have to make a point of it now.

Sheamus the... said...

i just wasnt totally convinced on how it ends...

Bryce Ashlin-Mayo said...

Just saw it and loved it, however, Sheamus has a point in that the ending maybe goes too far, too fast. Still a great flick.