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Overall Rating
4.03

Awesome39.33%
Worth A Look: 37.08%
Average: 14.61%
Pretty Bad: 5.62%
Total Crap: 3.37%

8 reviews, 41 user ratings


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3:10 to Yuma (2007)
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by Eugene Novikov

"A western, by God."
5 stars

3:10 TO YUMA remembers when the western was serious business. This is not a film that enlists the conventions of this old, trod-upon genre in the service of something ironic and post-modern. It does not mock its old-time gunslingers, law men and roving criminals, or modernize them (though there are hints here of their impending extinction). Based on an old Elmore Leonard short story, the film -- itself a remake -- takes their values, their imperatives, and their moral code at face value, and then it does a remarkable thing: it explains these things to us. We understand these people as people, not as brimmed-hat-wearing clichés or inevitable genre staples. Breathtakingly exciting and incredibly moving, this -- far and away James Mangold's finest work -- is nothing less than a revolution. It makes the old not so much new but real again, vital and relevant.

The alpha and the omega of the film is honor. This is, of course, nothing knew to Hollywood's version of the wild west, where notions of fair fighting and integrity have long been crucial, sometimes as a way to distinguish the black hats from the white and other times mattering across hero/villain boundaries. 3:10 to Yuma uses it as a sort of yardstick. When Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), a legendary thief and murderer, has a tenacious bounty hunter on the ground and at his mercy, he doesn't pull the trigger. "I ain't gonna kill you," he says; "not like this." "Won't change a thing, letting me live," the bounty hunter replies. "I'll come for you."

We know right then that Wade won't be a "villain" in any conventional sense, though Crowe, chillingly confident and serene, makes it clear that he would have been game for it. For his part, Wade insists that he's a bad man, rotten to the core, and he may be right -- all available evidence indicates that he kills in cold blood on a fairly regular basis. But William Evans (Logan Lerman), the teenage son of Dan (Christian Bale) -- the rancher entrusted to put the captured Wade on a train to prison -- takes an immediate liking to the man, and if there is one thing movies have taught us, it is to trust the instincts of children (unless they are alien spawn, or named Damien).

Dan is a crippled Civil War vet, a proud man reduced to barely getting by on a small ranch, in terminal debt to cruel, violent people who would rather drive him off his land to make room for the railroad than get their money. The $200 he is offered to transport Wade will, he desperately hopes, pay what he owes, feed his family, and give him a boost in the eyes of his son, who is frustrated with his dad's unwillingness to fight. The depth of Dan's need to do these things (especially the last), and Ben Wade's dawning understanding of same, are at the heart of the film.

Wade's increasing respect for Evans, culminating in a final act of heartrending sympathy, is portrayed without initiating some sort of conversion on the part of Wade. Early in the film, we see him execute a screw-up henchman, later expressing the opinion that the victim was "weak and stupid." There is no doubt who the hero is, here -- Evans is a good man, and Wade is not -- but Evans' having managed to win the killer's admiration still somehow means a lot. It certainly means a lot to William, the look in whose eyes in one of the final shots basically encapsulates the film.

I keep using words like "good" and "bad" to describe these characters, but it might be more relevant to say whether or not they are worth a damn. Surely that is a more crucial measure in the world they inhabit, which truly has no room for the weak and stupid. "Immoral ain't got a damn thing to do with it," says a character late in the film, but that doesn't seem quite right -- a man has a moral duty to take care of himself and his family, to act honorably, and, when called for, to stay for a fair fight. Ben Wade has one more line in the exchange with the bounty hunter that I quoted above: "I'd be disappointed if you didn't."

3:10 to Yuma is an impeccably paced, thrilling western, largely traditional, with the occasional injection of modern shaky-cam cinematography to bring a new perspective to the familiar action. Bale lends his uncanny talent for creating characters who are vulnerable beneath a stubbornly stoic exterior, and Crowe gives his best performance in years -- he is really so much better playing morally questionable than righteous. But though it is indeed a western, the kind "they don't make anymore," the movie doesn't seem to know that, and refuses to be constrained by the label. Forget everything you think you know about the genre in the 21st century, and ignore anyone who calls this a "throwback." Gunslingers, bounty hunters, sheriffs, horses and hats? Yes. A pistol called the "Hand of God"? You bet. But so what? Damn the torpedoes. 3:10 to Yuma fearlessly reaches for greatness, and achieves it.

(Reprinted from filmblather.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=16359&reviewer=419
originally posted: 09/10/07 16:57:58
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell great western remake 5 stars
1/23/14 Charles Tatum Outstanding remake, a modern classic 5 stars
7/29/13 PAUL SHORTT SLOW, UNDERWHELMING, ABSURDLY SCRIPTED, OVERLONG, VASTLY INFERIOR REMAKE 1 stars
4/30/09 Jessica Hurst This movie was friggin awesome. The guys wre really hott too. 5 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. finally a good western. 4 stars
12/21/08 noops.... their wrists move fast ...they r westerners 5 stars
9/14/08 Annie G Probably now my favorite western. 3 stars
9/07/08 Halad65 A great western. Bale and Crowe are great. 5 stars
7/06/08 John Millheim Good western, Crowe does a great job 5 stars
6/14/08 Michele Loved it, and I totally got the ending. Ben's remarks at the beginning give the ending away 5 stars
5/29/08 MDH-Matt One of '07's best. Crowe+Bale=Dream. Too bad Ben Foster steals the movie 5 stars
4/13/08 mark madsen this is a great movie. 5 stars
4/04/08 Colleen Cousineau My husband loved it, I don't care for westerns. 3 stars
3/29/08 R.W. Welch Nifty western until the finale which gets a little out-of-control. 4 stars
3/15/08 KingNeutron Saw it and was really disappointed - any Louis Lamour book is better than this junk. 2 stars
3/08/08 Phil M. Aficionado Strong cast and superb production values; the action and morals are extras 4 stars
3/02/08 Servo Not bad, but the ending just feels false. 3 stars
3/01/08 mormor613 Emotional rollercoaster ... superbly done 5 stars
2/06/08 Monday Morning Man, was this thing overrated. Many TV shows are much better. 3 stars
1/30/08 mr.mike Crowe and the Morricone-inspired score are aces 5 stars
1/17/08 Jason The plot makes is a nonsensical cliche of reatrdation 2 stars
1/09/08 action movie fan slightly above cliche western-not very exciting but i don,t care for westerns anyway 2 stars
1/08/08 Double M Those who think people are only extreme good\evil won't get the ending. A+ Cast. Brilliant. 5 stars
11/12/07 Alec Started out on the right foot, but the ending ruins the whole film. 2 stars
10/24/07 William Goss Thoroughly solid remake, with Fonda arguably leading a very good ensemble. 4 stars
10/08/07 Bert Kaplan Great movie; powerful,thoroughly engrosing, fades a bit at the end though 5 stars
9/26/07 damalc can't think of a movie with bale or crowe that i didn't like 5 stars
9/25/07 raimey wright Outstanding-Russell Crowe now rides along with the greats of the old west.SEE IT!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/23/07 Edler Very disappointing- The story is not believable and the characters are not likeable. 3 stars
9/22/07 Ole Man Bourbon Good movie, stupid ending. 4 stars
9/22/07 MP Bartley Mangold knows his genres inside out. Bale and Crowe outstanding. 4 stars
9/18/07 Quigley A pretty entertaining Western carried by Crowe and Bale. Not enough gunfights and action 4 stars
9/17/07 Private Deliberate, classy morality themed western based drame. Solid acting 4 stars
9/14/07 Bopo Very disappointing. A good theme that needed a better story to tell it. 3 stars
9/14/07 ciscokid Plot had too many holes and ending that makes no sense, Peter Fonda's character was great 2 stars
9/11/07 Elizabeth Nice to see a good western again! 4 stars
9/11/07 mark just another over the top shoot em up 3 stars
9/10/07 Jim Dumb. Bad guy wasn't loved by mom & shoot the bad guys standing in the street! 1 stars
9/09/07 Russ This movie looks awesome 5 stars
9/09/07 Joe Smaltz I may have seen a stupider, and worse movie, but I don't remember it. Crowe had a nice hat! 1 stars
9/07/07 Luce Rains Marshal Weathers in 3:10 to Yuma 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Sep-2007 (R)
  DVD: 08-Jan-2008

UK
  14-Sep-2007

Australia
  N/A




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