Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Peter
Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Logan Lerman
Released by: Lionsgate
Short: This old-fashioned western
(and shoot-‘em-up morality tale)
is the perfect chaser to this summer’s
big-budget, effects-laden barnburners.
Waiting is the Hardest Part…
the last time you saw Christian Bale was as the pretty-boy
Batman, “3:10 to Yuma” will be a shock. His
Dan Evans is a gaunt, down-beaten, down-on-his-luck,
debt-ridden rancher, tormented by nearby landowners in
the arid, every-man-for-himself Arizona territory, just
after the Civil War.
life changes when notorious train bandit Ben Wade (Russell
Crowe) rides into town beneath a black bowler hat—more
sinister than a cowboy hat, no? Ben’s victims offer
Dan a life-saving fortune if he delivers the outlaw to
the prison car aboard the movie’s namesake train.
Three days on horseback through the desert, the trek promises
either redemption or ruin for both men, as their posse
faces hostile natives, Ben’s henchmen and Ben’s
own considerable cunning.
train’s arrival looms like a character in itself.
Director James Mangold, (“Walk the Line”) working
from a story by Elmore Leonard, skillfully builds the stakes
and tension as 3:10 approaches. Part of it comes from Ben’s
being a gentleman-outlaw. He’ll kill ya’ all
right, but he might also joke with ya’ first.
His gang, with a wildfire
second-in-command played by a menacing Ben Foster,
is ruthless and blunt, yet Ben quotes the Bible and
is a talented, sensitive artist. He also knows that
silence is infinitely scarier than talking.
last part sounds almost samurai, and Mangold and crew
definitely bring a samurai sensibility to this journey.
Like the best samurai stories, “3:10” evolves
into a bittersweet tale of duty, honor, obligation and,
ultimately, the true nature of goodness.