Saturday, January 12, 2008
3:10 to Yuma Review
Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is a notorious outlaw, the kind that inspires tall tales of incredible carnage and brutality. His gang of ruthless thieves and murderers have been laying siege to the Southern Railroad for months when Wade is suddenly captured. Civil War veteran and struggling rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale), desperate for money and his family’s respect, volunteers to escort Wade to the town of Contention where he’s to be placed on the 3:10 train to Yuma on his way to a swift trial. Evans joins an old Pinkerton man (Peter Fonda), the railroad’s representative (Dallas Roberts) and a timid veternarian (Alan Tudyk) brought along for first aid. Their journey becomes especially dangerous when Wade’s gang, led by the intensely loyal Charlie Prince (Ben Foster), vow to free him and kill anyone who gets in the way. When Evans’ oldest son William (Logan Lerman) joins them, full of naive admiration for Wade’s guts and prowess, the rancher must deal with his own fears and the self doubt that he will be able to get them through the mission alive.
The western has been buried and revived so many times in recent years that it’s beginning to resemble one of George Romero’s stale zombies, stumbling about with only a trace memory of it’s former self. The trouble lies in the very idea of a “revival”. As director James Mangold mentions himself on the DVD commentary, this inspires contemporary filmmakers to make westerns that are about other westerns and the genre itself rather than simply going about the business of telling their own story. The films end up being crushed by the weight of their own self-importance, filled with empty and soulless homages to The Searchers or A Fistful of Dollars instead of inspiring anything real.
To read the rest of my review click HERE