Movie Review: 3:10 to Yuma

“3:10 to Yuma” is an excellent movie starring Christian Bale who plays, “Dan Evans”, the most pathetic dirt farm EVER (his performance resurrected horrible memories of having to read “The Grapes of Wrath”). With the last shred of dignity he has left, he decides to join a group of men who are tasked with delivering a very dangerous, but charming, criminal to the Yuma bound Federal Prison train in Contention Arizona for $200. He figures this is enough to save his farm from the railroad and to buy seed and some cattle in the spring. The charming criminal, “Ben Wade”, is played by Russell Crowe, who is as charismatic as ever (actually it was quite amazing. A few times through the movie my husband and I whispered to each other, “He’s good”.) Ben Wade is an interesting character because he’s as bad as they come (or so the tales say), but somewhere inside the bluster, there’s a kind marshmallow. We know this because he draws pretty pictures and quotes the Bible.

This is a Western in the traditional sense of Westerns. The men are men and the women are soft. The hero is stoic. The anti-hero is a quick draw, bad to the bone, and dresses in black but he’s got a heart of gold. The bad guys are merciless, criminally insane, and have wonderful names like “Charlie Prince.” The indians, excuse me, native Americans are fierce and sneaky. They even find a place in this movie for Chinese “Coolies” — the Chinese immigrants that contributed to the construction of the railroads. This easily could have been made 40 or 50-years ago, and it fact it was in 1957.  Yes, this is a remake!  I really enjoyed this movie both as a Western and as a movie itself because it was a deeply psychological character study that kept me guessing until the end about the true nature of Ben Wade. Anyhow, the movie ending is very satisfying and leaves open the possibility of a sequel or two and that I definitely wouldn’t mind :). 5/5 Well worth $7/ticket and the drive to Irvine.

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