Friday night, I watched our next film in the queue, 3:10 to Yuma. It’s a 2007 Western starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, which is also a remake of a 1957 film starring Glenn Ford (and not to be confused with Ernie Ford.) Both of these films are based on the 1953 Western short story by Elmore Leonard. The basic premise is that Bale plays an impoverished cattle rancher named Dan Evans, and Crowe plays Ben Wade, the leader of a bank/stagecoach-robbin’ gang of killers. At one point, Crowe is captured, and Bale is one of the men who sign up to escort Crowe to the town of Contention. Once there, they will put Crowe on the 3:10pm train to Yuma Territorial Prison. Of course, Crowe’s gang will stop at nothing to free their leader, and Crowe himself will do what he can to escape.
I’m personally not a fan of the Western genre. That was very popular for many decades, but I believe it lost its allure when the space race began in the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s. I once worked with a fellow who was very much a fan of the Clint Eastwood westerns of the 1960’s, but I’ve never seen any of them. I’ve always been a sci-fi or fantasy type of fellow. I’ve never seen a spaghetti western, or even seen Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Unforgiven.
So what did I think of this movie? I thought it was good. The story itself is not mind-altering or genre-busting. It’s a western. What made this film stand out was the interplay between Bale and Crowe. Russell Crowe especially plays a very nuanced villain, and Bale portrayed a realistic protagonist that was NOT an action star performing fantastical stunts. No one spouted one-liners, and the villain didn’t have a wacky evil plot. I didn’t see one giant mechanical spider terrorizing the Arizona desert. Themes of greed and corruption permeated the story, and experiencing the interaction between the characters was the most enjoyable facet of this movie.
Note #1 – It was good to see Russell Crowe perform some good acting in a film. After Gladiator, he’s had a string of misses, so it was nice to see him play an intriguing vcharacter, albeit a villain, but intriguing nonetheless.
Note #2 – Out of all the actors, I was oddly surprised to see former “It Girl” Gretchen Mol in a small role as Christian Bale’s wife. Still beautiful, but what has she been working on all these years? Actually, upon further review of her IMDB profile, she’s been working steadily, so good for her.