Monday, December 01, 2008
The Top Ten Things I learned from 3:10 To Yuma
We had a slew of Westerns come out in theaters last fall and I'm starting to catch up to a couple of them now with Netflix. My cinematic Thanksgiving weekend treat was 3:10 To Yuma,starring Christian Bale as Dan Evans,a Civil War vet with only a bad leg and a failing cattle ranch to show for his troubles.
He and his young sons(the oldest being the rebellious type,of course)happen to come across a stagecoach robbery by notorious outlaw Ben Wade(Russell Crowe)and his gang of vicious cutthroats. Wade spares their lives for the moment,but takes their horses and shanghais their cattle to aid his getaway.
Wade does get caught and Dan,desperate for money to save his ranch,joins the party of men transporting him to the train that will carry Wade to jail. A number of obstacles crop up on their journey,with the main being the rest of Wade's gang,lead by the devotedly wicked Charlie Prince(played by Ben Foster,a real standout performance here),determined to hunt them down and rescue their "boss".
While I haven't seen the original 1957 film version of 3:10 To Yuma (due to premiere on TCM later this month)or read the Elmore Leonard short story both movies are based upon,I can tell that the remake took a bit more from the source material.
The strongest segments of the film are the bouts of psychological battle between Dan and Ben,with one trying to draw out the true face of the inner man within the other.
Crowe and Bale are powerfully charismatic actors when they want to be and/or when the role requires them to do so. Here,the two of them seem to come to an accord about that for the betterment of the film as a whole. It's rare to see big name stars check their egos at the door and wonderful when it works to make a good movie turn out even better.
It also gives the other actors around them a chance to exhibit their skills,both up and coming types such as Logan Lerman as Dan's eldest boy who seeks off to help his father bring Ben Wade in,and old school folks like Peter Fonda(who I didn't even recognize until the end credits),as one of the bounty hunters who really has it in for Wade.
The action sequences are just as riveting as the dialogue and kudos to James Mangold for really giving the Western genre a much needed jump start. Mangold is one of those directors who are on and off with their films(Cop Land was lousy,in my opinion,but then again,I adore Kate and Leopold)but this time out,he truly scores.
So,without further ado,here are the Top Ten Things that you can learn from 3:10 To Yuma that might actually be of use to you down the road:
10) A good reason for not stopping a stagecoach robbery is the presence of a lot of weapons that shoot bullets:
9) Grace is for everyone,even murderers.
8) Don't be so quick to laugh when a bad guy warns you about the curse on his gun.
7) Being made nervous is worth about an extra five dollars:
6) Green eyes are an alluring asset to a woman,but not always necessary to please a bad man.
5) Don't be so quick to assume that a boy won't shoot you in the back of the head just because he admires you:
4) Even bad men love their mommas.
3) It's not a good idea to taunt a condemned man with creepy,late night singing:
2)It's also a bad idea to try to escape from a gang of ruthless killers by holding one of them hostage.
1) Sometimes,the best thing you can get out of a no win situation is to remember who
was willing to go thru with it all the way,when no else would:
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