Film Review: 3:10 to Yuma

3:10 to Yuma
Release Date: September 7, 2007
Runtime: 117 min.
Genre: Western
Rating: R – violence.
Cast: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster,
Peter Fonda, Logan Lerman.
Director: James Mangold.
Stars: 5

“You’re not all bad,” young William Evans (Logan Lerman) tells seasoned train robber Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) early on. Six-shooter, Ben Wade spends the rest of the movie
pondering this observation, trying hard to prove that not only is he all bad but that he is the worst, most evil man you are likely to meet.

Fortunately, for the honest ranchers living along the Southern Pacific Railroad, time proves him wrong.

The film opens with the robbery of a stagecoach carrying the railroad payroll to Bisbee. Railroad rep. Grayson Butterfield (Dallas Roberts) has paid professionals to protect the payroll, but everyone on board is killed except Pinkerton guard, Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda) who is sorely wounded.

Rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) and his two young sons stumble upon the scene. Ben Wade takes their horses and leaves. Evans and his sons rescue McElroy, carrying him all the way to Bisbee.

Later they find their horses tied to a tree, left behind on purpose by Wade. This pattern of crime and retreat happens over and over, as Evans finds himself escorting outlaw Wade to the town of Contention, three days away. Evans’ son William, insisting that he be recognized as a man, runs away from home and arrives at the campsite just in time to save Wade from escaping.

Eventually, William spots the good in Wade and lists all the honest deeds he has recently done, in spite of the fact that Wade fervently denies a good motive. It’s obvious from the start that Wade is a different kind of guy; Wade makes good conversation, likes to draw and has a poetic bent when it comes to women.

Aside from the unexpected story of the outlaw with a heart of gold, the film is stunning for its cinematography. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the entire film had been shot in the rare hours of dawn or dusk, such an abundance of golden light.

One appreciates the power of the technology used in modern film making. The sounds of hoofs in sand is luscious, the creak of leather and the ping of arrows minute but unforgettable. The only drawback of the film, which is certainly a question of personal taste, is the noticeable scarcity of women and the abundance of gunshot. Having said that, it sure feels good when vicious little sidekick, weasel Ben Foster (Charlie Prince) gets his due.

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