3:10 to Yuma

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3:10 to Yuma
Review (9/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

3:10 To Yuma is a remake of the 1957 classic that starred the late, great Glenn Ford as Ben Wade, a notorious outlaw from the wild, wild west who has been captured and is scheduled to be put on the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. This time around it is Russell Crowe who plays Wade and Christian Bale who plays Dan Evans, the small-time cattle rancher who is helping a determined posse of do-gooders get the extremely dangerous gunslinger on that train. Unfortunately for Evans, Butterfield and everyone else who wants to see Wade brought to justice, their journey to the small town of Contention where the ill-fated train will stop is not going to be an easy one. Hot on their trail is Ben Wade's gang of sharpshooters and murderers, who will stop at nothing to save their kingpin from getting on that train that will ultimately take him to his death. 3:10 To Yuma also stars Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Ben Foster and a handful of other rough-looking cowboy type of people. It is directed by James Mangold, who last brought us the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk The Line.

3:10 To Yuma is a fabulous movie. It takes us back to the day of the old spaghetti westerns when movies were simple and they relied on the performances of a handful of unshaven actors with a hitch in their step and a squint in their eye to convince us that we were being taken to a time when bandits ruled the land and men settled their differences with a six-shooter and a bottle of whiskey. I don't think I would have lasted 30 seconds in that day.

Anyways, about the movie, the strength of Yuma is in the performances of Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. These two are arguably two of the best actors in the world today and both are outstanding in this movie. And as good as Bale is, it is Crowe who steps up to the plate in this one. He's been great in many good movies but this might be his best performance to date. His portrayal of the legendary Ben Wade is as unsettling as it is oddly heart-warming. This could be and hopefully will be Oscar-calibre cinema for Mr. Crowe once again. The entire cast shines in Yuma but I must mention Ben Foster as well. He plays Charlie Prince, Wade's heartless righthand man who would shoot his own mother between the eyes if he had to. Foster is exceptional. About halfway through the movie you want to see this guy get a bullet between the eyes, which is exactly how one should feel about such a lowlife. What a great performance.

Overall, I have to say, 3:10 To Yuma is one of my favourite movies of the year and just off the top of my head, the best "western" I have seen since Unforgiven. It's a simple story and yet complicated in many ways. It is a story that keeps you riveted by the stellar performances of Crowe, Bale and pretty much everyone else in the movie, for that matter. De Niro and Pacino had their moment in Heat. Well, the 21st century version has to be Crowe and Bale. They continue to dazzle audiences movie after movie and Yuma is no different. They are so good that really, in this movie, Crowe probably could have played Bale's part and Bale played Crowe's and I don't think this movie would have missed a beat. But for what it's worth, they were both perfect in the parts they were given. And 3:10 To Yuma is as close to perfect as we will probably get in this day and age. If you like the old westerns, if you like Christian Bale, and if you have forgiven Russell Crowe for throwing a phone at a concierge, 3:10 To Yuma is a movie that you are sure to enjoy. Off the record, I work in the hotel industry and there are some concierges who probably deserve to get a phone thrown at them now and again. Crowe probably isn't that bad of a guy. I met him at the Toronto Film Festival last year and he really was a charming and funny guy. Now I'm babbling. Go see 3:10 To Yuma, it's worth your time and money.

Trailer

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