Wednesday, September 12, 2007

3:10 TO YUMA - outstanding Western

Just remember, it's your old man that hauled Ben Wade to that station... when nobody else wouldAfter GIRL INTERRUPTED, COP LAND and WALK THE LINE, here's another great film from director James Mangold. This time it's a remake of the 1957 western, 3:10 TO YUMA, itself based on a short story by Elmore Leonard. There's nothing pioneering or rocket-sciency about this movie: it's just a gripping story, really well-told.

The ever-brilliant Christian Bale plays an indebted Arizona rancher who commands no respect, even in his own eyes. In a last ditch attempt to raise some cash and do something heroic, he escorts a notorious thief (Russell Crowe) to the train station in another town, where he will take the 3:10 to Yuma prison. The small posse gets eliminated one by one as Crowe's charming but immoral villain takes them out en route. And all the time, they are being followed by the villain's gang, not least a nasty but dandy-ish side-kick, played by Ben Foster in a truly break-out performance. The drama of the piece is in the confrontation between a deeply moral but pathetic man and an amoral swaggering anti-hero. The tension builds to a thrilling final shoot-out from the town-hotel to the train station. Will Bale's character get the villain to the train? And how far will the villain, who now has a grudging sympathy for the hero, collude in his own arrest. It makes for a brilliant character play, with the added bonus of some superb action sequences and handsome design and photography. Not to be missed.

3:10 TO YUMA is already on release in Russia and the USA. It opens in the UK on September 14th, in Iceland on September 28th, in Norway on October 12th, in Italy on October 19th, in Singapore on October 25th, in Turkey on November 2nd, in Argentina on November 8th, in Estonia on November 20th and in Finland on January 11th 2008.

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