Saturday, February 2, 2008

Movie Review: 3:10 to Yuma

Just watched 3:10 to Yuma on DVD - I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I am not generally a fan of the Western genre. Christian Bale plays a farmer in Arizona who is down on his luck due to a drought that has ruined his farm. He has a wife and 2 kids who have little respect for him. While he and his two boys are out rounding up their cattle that escaped, they come at the tail end of Russell Crowe (a notorious bank robbing Jesse James type black hat) and his gang robbing a stagecoach full of money (the 1860s version of a Brinks truck). Crowe and his gang allow Bale and the kids to live.

Crowe's gang ride into town, while Bale tends to one of the survivors of the heist (Peter Fonda who looks to be about 100 years old) and brings him into town to be treated by the doctor (played by the guy who played Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball! I am sure that guy has been in other things, but all I could see, despite him acting like an 1860s western pioneer doctor was Steve -"Argh mateys!"). Crowe's character hooks up with a barmaid and he does the deed with her ("don't come a knockin' when the Conastoga wagon is a rockin!"... R-Crowe was also "Glad-he-ate-her" - yeah, that was a bad one). While Crowe was basking in the afterglow of his Little Carouse on the Prairie (man I am on a roll) he ran into Bale in the bar, they got to talking, and the Marshall and posse came in and captured Crowe while he was yakkin' it up with Bale.

We learn that Crowe has robbed 22 stage coaches for over $400k of the money. The guy whose company has been repeatedly robbed offered the pay the posse to make sure they get Crowe to the trainstation a day's ride away and get him on the 3:10 prison train to Yuma. (Hence the title). Bale needs the money to pay off a debt, or else his ranch is going to be taken away to him, so he goes as well.

The movie is the journey of them taking Crowe across the state in the Wild Wild West, and the relationship that develops between him and Bale's character.

The movie was full of action, and I thought strong performances from Bale & Crowe especially. Bale has really grown on me and has become one of my favorite actors. He was great in "American Psycho", "Batman Begins", "The Prestige" and "Rescue Dawn". For a British guy, he does amazing American accents. I think he is always giving a controlled performance and he really gets absorbed into character. Crowe is Crowe - always strong, even though he was the villain in this role, he wasn't over the top or hammy when he could have been.

Overall, I'd recommend you take the time to watch it - lot of action, gunfights, drama, good acting and directing. Out of a possible 4, I give 3:10 to Yuma "3 Lanes":
(Let me know in comments, is that rating system clever or cheesy?)

1 comment:

BFO said...

A little cheesy but extremely clever and well thought out. I take it there will be no "half-lane" ratings?