Rancher Dan Evans heads into Bisbee to clear up issues concerning the sale of his land when he witnesses the closing events of a stagecoach robbery led by famed outlaw Ben Wade. Shortly thereafter, Wade is captured by the law in Bisbee and Evans finds himself one of the escorts who will take Wade to the 3:10 to Yuma train in Contention for the reward of $200. Evans's effort to take Wade to the station is in part an effort to save his land but also part of an inner battle to determine whether he can be more than just a naive rancher in the eyes of his impetuous and gunslinging son William Evans. The transport to Contention is hazardous and filled with ambushes by Indians, pursuits by Wade's vengeful gang and Wade's own conniving and surreptitious demeanor that makes the ride all the more intense. Written by
In a deleted scene (included on the DVD), Ben Wade tells Byron McElroy, "I heard that your boss, Al Pinkerton, got an infection from biting his own tongue. And he died last month. Is that true?" Allan Pinkerton did die from an infected bite on his tongue, on July 1, 1884. This would place the events of the movie as occurring in August, 1884. See more »
At the hotel, Butterfield slides a badge under the hotel door, yet after the door is opened the sheriff and his deputies are all wearing badges. However, the badge Butterfield slides under the door is a deputy badge for Dan, hence Dan throwing it back to the sheriff when he leaves. See more »
[upon hearing Dan cock his rifle]
Dan... Maybe it's the wind.
See more »
Russell Crowe's name is not used in the end credits when crediting his assistant, driver, stand-in, dialect coach, costumer, hair stylist and makeup artist; instead, his character's name, Ben Wade, is used. See more »
Long ago, I saw the original 3:10 to Yuma featuring Van Heflin and Glen
Ford, but I don't remember it well enough to compare it with James
Mangold's new remake. Instead, my review will focus exclusively on the
Mangold's film is a tense, traditional western based on an Elmore
Leonard story. Leonard is a solid writer, and gave the material upon
which the film is based enough background and characterization to
permit willful suspension of disbelief. Mangold's film does the same.
Our protagonist and antagonist are, respectively, Dan Evans (Bale) and
Ben Wade (Crowe). Evans is a would-be rancher and family-man whose
family is suffering from a drought and a merciless landlord. Evans and
his boys cross paths with notorious outlaw Ben Wade and his gang on
their way into town to confront their landlord, and Wade whimsically
lets them go. But the connection between these two men and Dan's eldest
son is far from over. Eventually Dan will accept an offer made by a
railroad agent to help escort Wade to a train headed to Yuma prison,
while Wade's crew of murderers dogs their every step.
Two performances stood out for me - Bale and Ben Foster (Charlie
Prince). Crowe was good, but it's not clear that he engaged with his
role with his usual intensity. There are several very talented actors
in supporting roles, and they each pull off the transition to the
western genre quite nicely (Alan Tudyk, Logan Lerman, Gretchen Mol,
Peter Fonda and others). The film showcases the acting talent very well
without losing sight of its straightforward but interesting story.
More often than not, good westerns are at least as much character
studies as they are 'shoot-em-ups'. After all, it pretty close to
impossible to enjoy a film in which anybody might drop dead at any
given time without caring about the people you are watching die, or
those doing the killing. Mangold achieves this by drawing on the simple
strengths of the original material and allowing relationships to
dominate both the story's development and the cinematography. For a
western, there is a tremendous amount of dialog in this film, coupled
with the usual meaningful stares. Wade is so wily and unpredictable
that you really never know what to expect out of him, and his crew is
headed up by his loyal and equally nihilistic protégé Charlie Prince.
Dan Evans is his polar opposite, and Dan's son is an unusually accurate
and complex Hollywood portrayal of a teenager. These and other
relationships are the strengths and the medium of the film. When the
camera isn't being used to build tension before a battle or showing us
a gun-fight, it is establishing relationships and character. And many
of the characters and relationships we see are surprising, ambiguous
and more than a little ironic.
Highly recommended for western fans.
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