First of all, let me say that I’ve never been a huge fan of the traditional western. It may be that I’m missing that gene or something. However, there was one that I liked — Unforgiven — starring Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. It was an amazing film because the characters drove the story, not the other way around.
Second… I now have to add 3:10 to Yuma to that short list of westerns. What an amazing flick. And again, it was all because of the characters — especially Christian Bale as Dan Evans and Russell Crowe as Ben Wade.
The story is a simple, old-fashioned western tale. A rancher from a small parcel of land agrees to help transport an outlaw to catch a train. The outlaw’s gang does everything they can to stop that from happening.
Here’s the IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0381849/
Every story is a journey for one or more characters. If the characters don’t show growth or change during that journey, then it was all too often a waste of time. There are three characters who grow during the film — Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), Dan Evans (Christian Bale), and Evans’ son William (young Logan Leman). That was done in large part by the scriptwriters of Welles, Brandt, and Haas who crafted a masterful story.
Favorite scene? Before Dan and the small group get ready to escort Ben Wade to the train, they have dinner at Dan’s house with his wife and family. As Dan gets ready to leave, he takes a moment with his wife in the back room. This section of dialog solidifies why he’s undergoing this journey. He doesn’t like the way his sons look at him because they think he’s a failure and spineless. He doesn’t like the way his wife doesn’t look at him. And he’s been waiting for years for God to do him a favor, and he isn’t listening. So it’s time to take matters into his own hands. It’s a beautiful, quiet scene.
What’s not to like? Honestly I can’t think of anything in the movie that I didn’t really like or think was appropriate. The bad guys were good. The good guys were gray. And the insanity that ensued was what we’ve come to think as typical of the wild west.
This movie gets a solid 4/4 stars for me. What an amazing ride.
Until next time