3:10 to Yuma

3:10 to Yuma

Remake of the 1957 western, which was based on a story by Elmore Leonard ('Get Shorty', 'Rum Punch').

Small-time family man and rancher, Dan Evans (Christian Bale), agrees to hold a captured outlaw (big bad Russell Crowe) who is awaiting a train to go to court in Yuma. Desperate for the money, Dan is putting his life on the line - threatened with his life by the outlaw’s gang. A psychological battle begins when the criminal offers financial reward and safety if Evans releases him.

Flicks Review

In this remake of a 1957 western, a small-time family man and rancher, Dan Evans (Christian Bale), agrees to hold captured outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) as he awaits the 3:10 train to go to court in Yuma. Desperate for the money, Dan is putting his life on the line - threatened with his life by the outlaw’s gang, who are in hot pursuit.

Leaving aside any postmodern twists, Yuma returns to the classic wild frontier, before the railroad brought order, when the dusty plains were roamed by lawless men and justice was served by a bullet to the head. Every ingredient is here: the buxom barmaid in the saloon; a woman slowly sweeping her porch; a stagecoach hijacking. For fans of the genre, this film has it all.

Take the fantastic climactic shootout, for example. The sound design is deeply layered and gives the impression that bullets are whizzing past from every direction. As Evans and Wade scuttle from hiding place to hiding place, wood splinters and clumps of dry earth go flying. It’s gun-slinging adventure in the classic sense.

Both Bale and Crowe give decent performances, but stealing the show is Wade’s second in command, Charlie, played with gleeful menace by terrific newcomer Ben Foster. Next to him the other supporting characters seem bland; mostly due to some fairly perfunctory dialogue. Peter Fonda’s crazy old timer, in particular, suffers from this. And Dan’s straight-shooting son comes across as a dullard with an inexplicably staunch moral conscience.

Letting the film down to some extent is the laissez-faire approach to character morality, and an inability to convince the audience of the believability of the characters’ choices. Russell Crowe gives his villain a roguish affability, but the ending (without spoiling anything) still doesn’t ring true.

Technically and visually, 3:10 to Yuma proves to be one of the better mainstream releases this year to date. But unlike the true western, which was characterized more by a poetic moral examination than by horses and guns, the film remains too ordinary to be a truly memorable reinvigoration of the genre.

The Peoples' Reviews

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BY munchkin superstar

What a dam good old fashioned western with such a great story Bale is great and Crowe is a stand out you really get involved in this one

The Press Reviews

88% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • James Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma restores the wounded heart of the Western and rescues it from the morass of pointless violence... Full Review

  • 3:10 to Yuma is a stylish remake of a 50-year-old cowboy film, making this a murderously modern, yet satisfyingly old-fashioned, western. Full Review

  • Mangold has time to build sensational, studied characterizations, brilliant pacing (courtesy Mike McCuster, who also edited the director’s previous effort, the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line”), and blistering action... Full Review

  • A largely compelling ride on the strength of a powerful cast led by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale... Full Review

  • Remake of a classic is packed with action and good performances but lacks subtlety and nuance. Full Review

  • In the battle of the leading men, Crowe's character has a slight edge, and the actor really makes the most of it, showing us how boyishly mischievous charm and utter venality can exist without seeming contradiction in the same being. But Bale builds to a pretty impressive boil himself after laying back for about three quarters of the film... Full Review

  • This isn't Sergio Leone but was a far better watch than I had expected, and I left the cinema feeling quite replete. Full Review