3:10 to Yuma
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Western starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. In Arizona in the late 1800s, infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers 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 Wade 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.
Released to Buy:
11 January 2008
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3:10 To Yuma
By Cory Peynado, Blockbuster.co.uk
"Twenty-two robberies. Over four hundred thousand dollars in losses. More in delays. The Southern Pacific will have Ben Wade convicted in a federal court. Hanged in public. An example made. And we will pay to make it happen."
Russell Crowe and Christian Bale saddle up for the dark and thrilling 3:10 to Yuma. Set in a time where the law is just not enough to keep men from murder, we are about to meet some of the some of the most ruthless riders of them all. Director James Mangold shows us some of the true sacrifices that need to be made in order to bring some men to justice, and also what some men are willing to do in order to avoid it.
I’m sure it wouldn’t be difficult to cast our minds back to classic films like Unforgiven or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and we all remember that it didn’t take zillions of dollars or fancy special effects to make these films an enjoyable watch. All it took was some really great characters with enough presence to walk into a saloon and make the guy on the piano stop and look round. And that’s exactly what we have in this latest western masterpiece.
The story follows hard-pressed civil war veteran turned family man Dan Evans (Christian Bale). His wife is upset that he is taking risks with the local land-owners who want to sell the property to lay down railway track for the not-far-off railroad. His youngest son suffers heavily from TB and his older son thinks he is a coward. While rounding their cattle up, Evans and sons witness a very violent stage robbery. Infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) seems to enjoy taking the payroll stage, as this is his 22nd effort at doing so.
Upon spotting Evans and his sons eavesdropping on their crime scene he steals their horses to get to town. Evans makes it to town on foot and the local authorities round up Wade after his rest of gang has split the money and split town. The town being light on law enforcement, Evans sees a lucrative opportunity to get his holding out of dept and earn a favour with the railroad company, and joins the party escorting Wade to the nearest railway station for transport to justice. Of course the gang gets wind of the capture, as does Evans oldest son and other interested parties along the way, making the escort duty a trial by gun-fire, blood and dynamite.
This is a thrilling ride, full of shootouts and horse chases through the desert, but it thankfully stays focused on the characters in the story. Ben Wade is a conflicted character from the outset. We first see him drawing a sketch of a hawk - a small hint that maybe he was never meant to be the leader of a gang. (I gather that not many thieves back then had much artistic ability.) After he’s caught, he even shows sympathy for Dan’s plight, though that doesn’t stop him from trying to get away when he can.
Like many of the classics before it, this western is a story about a desperate man trying to do the right thing, even if it’s also the wrong thing. You can’t call Dan a coward and you can’t call him stupid, either. Every step he takes to accomplish his mission is thought out and nothing depends on luck. One of the best new westerns in years, up there with Open Range, and The Quick and the Dead. Well recommended.
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