I always enjoy watching Russell Crowe. His 3:10 to Yuma is no exception. An old western revival of the 1957 film of the same title, 3:10 to Yuma also stars equally good actor Christian Bale.
Civil war veteran and poor crippled Dan Evans, convincingly portrayed by Bale, volunteers to transport murderer Ben Wade (Crowe) to court via the 3:10pm train from Arizona to Yuma for a $200 compensation. Such a risk that Evans belittles the evil gang’s hot pursuit to save their leader Ben Wade, powerfully played by Russel Crowe.
Though Evans successfully carries out his mission, have Wade board the train, he is shot to death by Charlie Prince, Wade’s loyal second-in-command. Evans’ determination though, has earned him his son’s admiration who openly considers the later’s feeble uprightness with contempt.
Having been to Yuma twice and had escaped on both times, it is a suprise that Wade after being freed finally from his captor still boards the train and surrenders his weapon. His change of heart though is never abrupt. It’s a valuable result of Evans’ determination to earn both his children’s respect and money for his family’s future. Evans personal quest for redemption, without realizing it, even wins Wade’s aloof admiration.
Aside from the superb casting and their excellent performances, the production design, make up and costume all the more make an impression on me. With Evans’ lean, haggard face, Bale truly appears to be needing that $200 payment. He utterly embodies the frailties of a deprived Eastern-bred rancher. Notorious outlaw Wade, on the other hand, covers his bad boy persona with his roguish smile and charm. Obviously better fed than Evans’, he easily impresses Evans’ son William and effortlessly captures any woman’s affection with his charisma.
The character of Evans as a morally upright head of the family is perfectly developed. I am deeply touched by his humility, least being bothered on cutting the meat from handcuffed wade’s plate, an ultimate case in point.
Mangold’s remarkable direction, first heard of him on Girl Interrupted, is so compelling that almost all actors on the film do justice to their respective characters. Ben Foster’s unnerving prince character is a standout I indeed find him soulless and certainly deserving of a supporting Oscars nomination.
The film teaches me that Russell Crowe is indeed a fine actor. Christian Bale and Ben Foster are exceptional performers as well.
** 21 april 2008