Initial Reaction ‘3:10 to Yuma’

3:10 to yuma review

So again with the previews, on monday I caught an early screening of ‘3:10 to Yuma’, a solid western from the greatest surname in cinema James Mangold. Here’s the little plot synopsis:

3:10 to Yuma stars Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Gretchen Mol and Peter Fonda in a modern take on the classic western by Elmore Leonard from producing/writing/ directing team Cathy Konrad and James Mangold.

In Arizona in the late 1800’s, infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Christian Bale), struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the “3:10 to Yuma”, a train that will take the killer to trial. On the trail, Evans and Wade, each from very different worlds, begin to earn each other’s respect. But with Wade’s outfit on their trail – and dangers at every turn – the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man’s destiny.

So it took a while for me to collect my thoughts after the screening, but here they are (a proper review will follow in september).
Christian Bale is excellent as the gaunt looking Arizona farmer, ex-military (he fought for the North) but is struggling to survive off the land. Russell Crowe was decent, mean at times, crazy when he had to be but it felt a little like he was cruising through to me without putting all the effort in. The real revelation was, as I predicted Ben Foster as Crowes right-hand man… the guy is an ultimate bad ass, plus he has the dead-eyed shark acting down so pat, If I ever met him in real life I’d honestly be scared of him.

The film is essentially a cowboy movie with daddy issues. Bale’s character is out to prove his worth to his son, whatever the cost. It gives him a raw eyed determination that sends him from timid farmer to badass cowboy on a mission. Crowes characters motivation never really sat right with me, for 70% of the film he’s a godless yet charming savage but seems to flip-flop halfway through into talking about his parental issues after he was abandoned in dodge city when he was very young. It’s not bad motivation for these characters but I’m not sure if I ever wanted my cowboys to share their feelings with me, I just want them to ride around looking mean shooting people’s trigger fingers off and spitting a lot. That being said the film is well put together and has several very cool shoot-outs and fast paced action scenes that meant I never lost interest. Plus with acting calibre such as this up on screen its difficult to not be engaged by the characters.

Despite a couple of very small issues It’s a really solid film and hopefully it’ll usher in a resurgance of westerns (lest we not forget the excellent Seraphim Falls no out on R1 dvd)

4 Responses

  1. Have you seen the original? Despite the cast, good trailer and early word, etc I’m dubious as hell about this because the original is so fantastic. I’d love to hear your thoughts from that angle, if you’ve got any.

  2. The original is indeed terrific. Glenn Ford is especially good playing against type as the bad guy. I’m looking forward to the remake despite Mangold’s hit-and-miss output of the last decade.

  3. I’ve never seen the original, I had meant to check it out but just didn’t get a chance. That being said I’m going to rent it now.

  4. [...] seen the film and the thing is except for the actors there’s very little in the film, it’s a western; [...]