209 of 234 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Although many say the Western is dead, in books as well as movies, it continues to rear its head and make itself known every so often. There's something inherently noble and visceral about the artform and the subject matter, the calm delineation between good and evil, that stubbornly continues to attract an audience.
In 2007, the Western showed back up at the box office in a trio of films that came out roughly at the same time. 3:10 TO YUMA was the first out of the gate, but it was followed in quick order by THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
The movie had been made fifty years ago, and much of the plot in that version made it into the remake. Both movies were based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, who has had several of his Western and crime novels made into films.
Christian Bale stars as Dan Evans, a one-legged, down-on-his-luck rancher struggling to keep a home together for his wife and two kids. Russell Crowe plays Ben Wade, an intelligent and heartless outlaw who's leading one of the blood-thirstiest gangs to ever take up the owlhoot trail.
Both stars take turns stealing scenes. Bale has the hard-edged look of coarse rawhide. Crowe possesses some of the deadest eyes ever shown in movies.
One of the best portrayals in the movie was a surprise to me, though. It took me a minute to recognize Peter Fonda as professional bounty hunter turned Pinkerton agent Byron McElroy. Fonda reminded me a lot of his father Henry, but part of that is because Fonda has aged. He also delivers a quality of acting and honesty in the character that is just amazing, and he was content to carry the supporting character role and didn't try to upstage anyone.
Logan Lerman was another surprise. He stared as William Evans, Dan's 14-year-old son. I'd thought Lerman was much older, but as it turned out he was 14 when the movie was made. He was likeable and intense.
When it came to truly cold-blooded villains, though, Ben Foster as Charlie Prince totally blew me away. The hair on the back of my neck went up as soon as he stepped on stage, and within a minute I hated him.
The story is simple. Dan is struggling to make ends meet and bumps into Wade during an armored wagon job. Later, after taking Byron McElroy into town for medical attention, Dan confronts Hollander, the man who's trying to run him off his land. When Hollander won't give him an extension on his loan, Dan finds Wade and helps take him captive. Then he agrees to help transport him to Yuma for $200.
The movie quickly spins out into the action of the violent road trip. In addition to being one of the fastest gunmen around, Wade is also a skilled psychological warrior, constantly taunting his captors and seeking out their weaknesses.
The action involves traveling through hostile Indian lands, meeting up with a team of killers working the railroad coming through the area, and a final showdown in Yuma that is one of the most exciting I've ever seen in a Western.
For two hours, I sat marveling at the characters, then tensely awaiting the outcome of the latest danger they were all facing. Even then, the twists and turns of the characters, the back stories they were all hiding till the very last moment, were awesome. No one was quite who I thought they were.
Westerns succeed best by having good men with a history of bad violence and bad men who haven't completely gone over to the dark side. 3:10 TO YUMA is one of those.
One caveat I will offer to people who have seen the original movie starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, this version does NOT follow the same paths or end up the same way. Expect to be surprised and shocked at how things turn out. And you'll be tense nearly the whole way through.
55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2007
The Western genre is pretty rare nowadays--the Hollywood of today usually prefers other kinds of films (we feel you Clint Eastwood). Fortunately for the die-hard fans of the classic Spaghetti Western, the waiting is over. 3:10 to Yuma is one of the best Western film in years and probably one of the best films of 2007 overall. Not only we get excellent performances by Crowe and Bale, but the film captures the Western film traditions from the past--everything from a compelling story with a sense of justice and great gun action. Read on and I tell you, even if you're not a fan of Western, why you have to watch this extraordinary film.
Brief Intro Story:
The Old West is hard place to live, not only you have to deal with criminals and desert weather, but also with creditors who can be just as dangerous.
Things are not going well financially for the crippled family guy Dan Evans (Christian Bale) who has to support his wife Alice and two sons--he didn't pay the bills and his creditors burned his barn. As he is going back to town with his kids to complain about what happened, they see the famous outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) with his vicious gang who just busted a wagon full of cash (killing almost everybody). The gang members see Evans and his kids, but Wade (the boss of the gang) decides to only take their horses and leaves them standing there, but the gang makes a mistake--they left one wounded man. The gang goes to town and while Wade is alone and having fun with a local girl, he gets captured by the authorities while he is talking to Evans--who made it to town anyways. But they need extra help to transport him to catch a train that will take him to prison, and that's where Evans volunteers to help--for $200 dollars. He doesn't know that transporting this infamous bandit will turn his life around.
Director James Mangold (Walk the Line) has created an instant Western classic in almost every aspect. Here we find two cowboys, who are on different sides of the law, but at the same time, there is a sense of fellowship, loyalty and understanding between them--Not only their acting is impressive, there is so much chemistry on screen. In one hand, we have the outlaw Ben Wade who is a casual guy, a bit of a playboy, but he can be vicious if you push his buttons. despite all the immorality and his cockiness; he is a likeable character nevertheless. Then we have Evans who is a serious man of integrity, a loving father that will do everything he can to support his family righteously. There is a point in the film where his loyalty is put to the test, as well as the will to continue with the mission--this is the point of no return when it's not even about the money anymore. The two characters blend towards the end, they finally understand each other and create one of the best endings in recent memory.
Technically speaking, 3:10 to Yuma is a marvel to behold. We get the classic look and feel of the Old West with excellent cinematography, intense gun battle sequences and good costume design. Perhaps for many, the first act might be a bit slow, but after Wade gets captured, the film picks up with great drama and suspense. With all these great sequences, we also get excellent sound effects--which reminds me a bit of Kevin Costner's Open Range. Some of these sounds effects creates even melancholia--listen carefully, specially during the final battle.
We didn't know taking the train could be so difficult back in the Old West. 3:10 to Yuma will not disappoint fans of the genre. It follows the classic Western formula with great performances by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Do I see a nomination for any of these vanguard actors? I'd say yes.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2008
Yes, it's a western, a remake, and yes, it's bloody and yes it's so terrific you will want to watch it again right after having finished it the first time.
Perfect acting by everyone. Russell Crowe is given the chance to show his amazing talent, to really dig into it. Christian Bale is marvellous as a father trying to make up for lost chances, finally doing it right.
But to me what struck me most, is the amazing talent of Logan Lerman who plays C. Bale's son. I have never before watched such a stunning performance by a 14 year old. No matter if he's in close up or riding a horse in the background, he's always focussed. Perfect!!!
Also the bad guys, most of all Ben Foster, are such dirtbags, you really wouldn't want to meet them. Neither in the dark nor the light.
Perfectly directed by James Mangold with a constant change in pace, great lighting, perfect composure - what is there left to say, I'm in awe!!!
One thing to reality: the bad guys somehow walk through almost any gunfight unhurt. Especially in the shootout scene at the end, there are many opportunities for Bale to finish off the meanest of the gang. Strangely enough he never gets the idea. Also when they are attacked by the Apaches, nobody puts out the fire which makes them the easiest target.
This is what makes it a five star movie, not more (with 5 extras for Logan Lerman). It's Hollywood, not real life.
As to the story: Based on a terrific short story by the great Elmore Leonhard, Christian Bale is Dan Evans, a poor rancher with a wife and two kids. He needs money badly to hold on to his farm. So he agrees to help out in getting Ben Wade, a captured outlaw (Russell Crowe) onto the train to Yuma. Amidst all the action (involving Crow's gang, dirty businessmen, a handful Apaches, Chinese railroad workers, a sexy singer, Peter Fonda as an avenging bounty hunter) you have the psychological dialogue/duel between the good (Bale) and the evil (Crowe).
As they get closer, they discover that in their hearts they are not so different after all. Both have their dark sides and the good. Which is going to win, and with whom? Will Wade have mercy with the farmer or will Evans give in to the money that is being offered to him in case he would give up the fight for justice?
BluRay? YES, YES and YES!!! Marvellous, sound, sharpness, depth, color, shadows, detail.
A terrific film!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2007
Format: Theatrical Release
The Western: a classic and simple genre, famous for its portrayals of lawless towns, armed bandits, shootouts, saloons, and whisky drinking. "3:10 to Yuma" is a film that makes use of them all, and I expected nothing less. What I did not expect was a story of amazing depth and complexity; this remake of Delmer Daves' 1957 film--which itself was based on Elmore Leonard's short story--is a triumph of plot and character development, telling a story that's just as meaningful as it is brutal. It begs the question: Is there truly a clear distinction between good and evil? This film refuses to answer that question, making for one of the most compelling films of the year.
One of the main characters is Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), an Arizona outlaw with a deplorable record of robbery and murder to his name. He seems to feel no remorse over his actions; indeed, he is an unlikable character, having little if any regard for other people and what he puts them through. But at the same time, he's engaging and oddly magnetic, with an air of mystery that's undeniably fascinating. Watching him, one gets the sense that he knows what someone else is thinking, which is both interesting and disturbing. He leads a band of murderers and thieves across the Western desert, a ruthless band that remains loyal for no apparent reason. Judging by the behavior of Wade's right hand man--Charlie Prince (Ben Foster)--one gets the sense that a little hero worship is at work.
The other main character is Dan Evans (Christian Bale), a one-legged farmer currently in a financial crisis. A greedy, arrogant landlord named Hollander (Lennie Loftin) has cut off the local water supply, destroying Evans' crops and making the land infertile. Hollander also oversaw the burning of Evans' barn; Evans had borrowed money, but was unable to repay. To make matters worse, Wade stole Evans' herd of cattle. Facing a lifetime of hardship and the disrespect of his wife and children, Evans joins a motley crew of townsfolk in their effort to capture Wade: the rich Grayson Butterfield (Dallas Roberts); the cantankerous Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda); and Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk), the local veterinarian (who occasionally sees human patients). In return for having him arrested and sent to Yuma Prison, Evans will be paid handsomely. But catching Wade will prove to be no easy task; by the time he is caught, more than a few lives are ruined.
Thus begins a physical and emotional journey, one of incredible insight. Wade is now bound by handcuffs and ready to be transported to Yuma. Once there, he'll board a prison train at 3:10 in the afternoon. As one might expect, almost nothing goes according to plan, and the characters are thrust into life or death situations. This is especially true in terms of Wade's posse, which has been following Evans' group relentlessly. In the midst of all character interactions, the greatest dynamic exists between Evans and Wade. At first glance, they seem like complete opposites; one lives a life of honesty while the other lives a life of crime. Nonetheless, both men are deeply flawed, with emotional baggage they have yet to rid themselves of. They have more in common than either would care to believe.
This isn't to say that being on common ground has brought them closer together. If anything, they push each other's buttons, especially when it comes to matters of faith: Wade--a lowly, deceitful man--is a pious Christian, and he always seems ready to quote a passage or two from the Bible; Evans--a good, honest man--is struggling with his faith, feeling as if God has ignored him for quite some time. Both men hide secret pain, all of which is slowly revealed as the film progresses. There's something about their line of communication that I found incredibly revealing, especially when the worst is brought to the surface. Example: Wade rouses Evans by questioning his treatment of his wife. "You say one more word," Evans shouts as he grabs hold of Wade, "and I'll cut you down right here." "I like this side of you, Dan," is Wade's reply. Here's a conversation that speaks volumes with so few words. It was highly effective.
An intriguing subplot involves Evans' son, William (Logan Lerman), a headstrong fourteen-year-old who feels he has something to prove. While specifically told to stay home with his mother and brother, William runs off to join his father, hoping to be of use. But more importantly, he seems genuinely curious about Wade: Is there, in fact, something to be gained by knowing who Ben Wade really is? Is this killer really as cold-blooded as he lets on? It's difficult to know for sure, especially since he and Evans form alliances just as quickly as they break them. What they share can't be considered a friendship. But on the same token, they are able to acknowledge each other's existence, and not always with hostility. Surely something can be said for that.
By the time the characters reach Yuma and engage in a climactic shootout, any sense of black and white reasoning has been lost. "3:10 to Yuma" exists in that massive gray area between the two, preventing the audience from pigeonholing the characters into definite types. This is without a doubt the film's greatest strength, acting as an appropriate counterpart to the ending. While the final moments require a little extra thought on our part, it still plays out beautifully, about as smooth and efficient as a well-oiled machine. For all the clichés that could have bogged it down, "3:10 to Yuma" is a Western that doesn't let itself get carried away. This is not a shallow Tough Guy movie; it's a wonderfully executed character study. Here's one train that you should definitely catch.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are well-matched in director James Mangold's inspired remake of the 1957 western classic. Mangold has a terrific flair for the genre - revitalizing the traditional narrative with added emotional depth and cinematic skill. The result is the finest western since Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven." Peter Fonda and Ben Foster are standouts in an excellent supporting cast. Hopefully, the critical and commercial success of "3:10 to Yuma" will encourage Hollywood to produce more sagebrush sagas.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
There have been many attempts to revisit the Western genre. Happily, this one works and I think the sparse, but exquisite use of language and the vivid setting (which, thank goodness, was filmed outside and not on a studio lot) adds much to the movie. There were some key sentences that jumped out of this film and I've noted them below. If you see the film, try to listen for them and see if they resonate as strongly for you.
I found 3:10 to Yuma to be primarily a character-driven movie, although there is no denying that there is plenty of action as well. To my mind, this is Christian Bale's strongest, most mature and multi-faceted performance to date, although fans of his other roles might find that point debatable. If so, I'll concede the point since I'm wavering on that position anyway. Still, if I had to choose right now - today - I'd say this is his seminal film, if only for the way he manages to convey the ambivalence at the heart of a world-weary man, trying to find the energy to pull off one last desperate move.
The basic plot of the movie is simple. Dan Evans (played by Bale) is a rancher who is having a hard time making ends meet. He is at a pivotal point in history, just before trains were commonplace everywhere. Evans is hoping to take a renowned criminal, Ben Wade, to the Yuma train (the 3:10 to Yuma, hence the title) and collect a $200 reward for his efforts. Russell Crowe brings Wade to life, quite skillfully.
Both Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are well-matched, each playing off the other perfectly. Director James Mangold made the choice to use a lot of close-ups and this works well to emphasize the character studies in this film. Pay special heed to Bale's portrayal of a tormented man whose facial expressions are just as important as his words. The pivotal words of his? To me, they are these: "I"ve been standing on one leg for three damn years waiting for God to do me a favor - and he ain't listening." Still, he wants to be a good man, wants his wife and sons to respect him and see him as honorable. That is a key element of his life. He is also more drawn to the dark side of things than he cares to admit.
Russell Crowe has a particularly risky role because he has to play "the bad guy", but not as a simplistic one-dimensional criminal. He has to make the part his own. That he did so still amazes me. His key words won't make sense till you see the film but they are: "I read the Bible from cover to cover. It took me three days. She never came back."
Before moving on to the special features available on the DVD, I'd like to give a nod to Peter Fonda's strong performance in this film as well as other actors who I don't have time to describe in detail here.
The theme of the movie revolves around the complicated and very difficult path to righteousness and all the ways that one can veer away from that path - as well as muddy the waters. It is a very slippery slope, a point driven home by this movie.
Okay, the special features: I have to say that even if this movie had been terrible, I'd have considered buying it for the features alone because of the historical information contained in them.
After making a western which often gives sway to the mythological, even fanciful aspects of history, the features focus on the truth behind the fiction. The whole Western genre is explored as well as such famous outlaws as James Younger and his gang and Black Bart. Particularly noteworthy was the detailed information about how Western outlaws and Civil War veterans connected, particularly those who'd fought for the South.
This one is absolutely jam-packed with special features, including a look at how the film was made. The section on the actors and their connection to the horses was intriguing. While two of the actors loved being on horses and riding, one did not. I won't spoil the suspense of finding out which actor in this film said that he hated riding. It was amusing. Also fascinating? Describing how they got a train on location.
One of the best films I've seen in awhile, highly recommended, although typically bloody and gritty, as you might expect. After seeing this, go have a look at the original movie and think about what this one says about our contemporary culture, based on the aspects of morality and other issues explored in the remake.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2007
This is a movie that bears repeated viewings due to a great subtext and accomplished acting. Not only does the film offer fast-paced entertainment, it offers a deeper story that asks questions about the meaning of morality and the requirements of faith. Decidedly the best movie I've seen this year. Highly recommended.
27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
If there is a truly unique American contribution to film making then that contribution has to be the Western. Though not as popular a theme these days as it was in past decades, it only takes a powerhouse film such as 3:10 TO YUMA to remind us just how pungent storytelling of this type can be. Yes, the story itself (based on a short story by Elmore Leonard) is rather simple: desperate farmer needs money to save his failing farm and family and signs on to escort a powerful outlaw to the train that will take him to prison. But in this screen adaptation by Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt, and Derek Haas the story is fleshed out by sharing with the audience the essence of the pioneer spirit and the sequelae of the Civil War on the minds of the dispossessed who turned to crime against the ruling order - the railroads and the banks represented the conquering North - and the film becomes one of profound understanding about man's plight in the pioneer West.
The landscape and atmosphere of Arizona is captured with dusty accuracy by cinematographer Phedon Papamichael and sets the stage for director James Mangold ('Girl, Interrupted', 'Walk the Line', 'Identity', 'Kate and Leopold', 'Cop Land') to work with his talented cast to give a realistic view of life in the hard times of the old West. Russell Crowe is the notorious outlaw Ben Wade whose gang includes such actors as Ben Foster and Rio Alexander and once he is captured during a robbery, the local sheriff promises to pay $200. to destitute, crippled farmer Dan Evans to escort the prisoner to Contention, AZ for catching a ride to the 3:10 to Yuma and prison. The connection between the two disparate men - Wade and Evans - is the message of the story and is beautifully enhanced by allowing the audience to understand both sides of 'the law'. The co-stars of the film include Gretchen Mol as Evans' wife and young Logan Lerman as Evans' impressionable son William, Dallas Roberts as the head of the bank investment at risk, Peter Fonda, Alan Tudyk, Vinessa Shaw and a large cast of the people who interplay in the drama.
Both Crowe and Bale give superlative performances, acting so cohesively that it would be difficult to single out either for the Oscar: this is ensemble acting at its finest. For once the added features enhance our appreciation of the tales from the Old West and how they became legends and the comments by the director, producers and cast actually make sense! The film will doubtless become a classic: it deserves the honor. Grady Harp, January 08
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Theatrical Release
It doesn't matter what genre he's writing in, Elmore Leonard can tell a riveting story and the cast and crew of this movie managed to make it near as good as the written word.
Dan Evans (Bale) is a crippled Civil War vet with a wife and two kids and a farm about to be foreclosed on for the railroad. When Ben Wade (Crowe) robs a stage in his town, Evans volunteers to join a 4 man posse to escort Wade to catch the 3:10 to Yuma. He needs to stay with his wife, kids, and scattered herd--but this is the only chance he's got to get the money to save his ranch.
The journey takes them through Apache country and a mental minefield of memories and pain. At the end, only Evans remains to get Wade on that train and the temptation is strong to just take that irresistible offer from Wade and walk away.
"3:10" is a Western in the old style. It's gritty, it's strong, but it also possesses some of newer character development which explains why both men are the way they are. The film held my attention throughout the whole run. Both my husband, who is a die hard Western fan, and my friend liked this film as well.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Dan Evans (Christian Bale), a Civil War veteran, is having a tough time of it running his family's ranch in the Arizona desert. Dan owes money to Hollander, a rich landowner who sets Dan's barn on fire to run him off. The land is worth more to the landowner who wants to sell it to the railroad. The next morning, Dan and his two sons, William (Logan Lerman) and Mark (Benjamin Petry) set out to round up their cattle. Their path will lead them across Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), a notorious bandit, and his crew of heartless thieves, including Charlie Prince (Ben Foster, HBO's "Six Feet Under", "X-Men: The Last Stand"). Ben and his team have just robbed the latest stagecoach carrying cash for the railroad and killed all of the Pinkerton agents guarding the shipment, save one, sparing the life of Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda). Wade takes Dan's horses, but leaves them alive, so he and his men can ride into the nearby town. There, they send the sheriff out on a wild goose chase and enjoy come relaxation time. But Charlie wants to get the team across the border and is surprised when Ben says he will meet them soon. Ben is soon apprehended and the railroad wants to get the criminal to the "3:10" prison train leaving Contention for the camp in Yuma. They offer five men a lot of money to make sure Wade makes the short journey in time for the train. Dan takes the money, in an effort to pay off some of his debt, and to keep the ranch going until the next spring. Naturally, when Charlie learns of Ben's capture, he brings the crew back and they are determined to free their boss.
Directed by James Mangold ("Walk the Line"), this remake is a very good film. Intense, believable, well-acted and exciting, it even makes a completely implausible ending work.
The film works for a lot of reasons. Let's start at the top.
Russell Crowe and Christian Bale top line the film and both turn in yet another very good performance. It is interesting that each actor just seems to get better and better with each film. Very different actors, they do seem to have a similar taste for challenging roles.
Crowe is arguably the bigger star, but he likes to challenge himself and take on roles like heartless criminal Ben Wade. As the story progresses and we learn more and more about Wade, we learn to appreciate his character more and see more of the layers Crowe is bringing to this role. Initially, he seems like just another sociopath killer, who feels no pain as he kills yet another person standing between him and some money. But is he really that heartless? Or does he feel slightly pressured, even intimidated by the heartless people in his crew? That is for you to decide, but the mere fact Crowe is able to give this character that kind of depth speaks volumes to his skill as an actor.
Wade is also not above playing little mind games with people. After he is captured, the posse takes him to Dan's ranch, where he meets Dan's wife, Alice (Gretchen Mol). While they wait for some business to unfold, they have dinner and Wade quickly ascertains Dan's weak points and starts to use those to poke some pins and needles into the rancher's hide. These moments are amusing and help to lighten the tone. As William, Dan's older son listens to the criminal's stories; he even seems to start to develop a little hero worship, which doesn't escape Dan's notice.
Then, they are off, to make the journey to Contention, to make the train.
Christian Bale is never anything less than interesting in his films. Quite often, he is simply mesmerizing. Even as Bruce Wayne, he manages to make the character seem real, and to give the former graphic novel creation a lot of depth and unusual traits. He often physically punishes himself for the sake of the role; for "The Machinist", he lost a lot of weight to play the role of an insomniac who worried about the world closing in on him, in the recently released "September Dawn", he lost a lot of weight, during filming, to portray an American fighter pilot held prisoner in Laos during the Vietnam War. But does this make him a good actor? Well, it certainly helps to create the illusion of the character he is playing in any given film. But Bale brings a lot more to his roles and usually creates mesmerizing performances.
Dan Evans is a man who has had many struggles in his life. A Civil War veteran, he seems slightly put off he doesn't get and can't command any respect for his civil service. He lost part of a leg yet a wealthy land owner doesn't even seem to give it a moment's thought when he orders his men to torch Dan's barn. Because Dan feels powerless, he comes off as a bit of a wimp in the eyes of his older son, one of the many factors prompting him to take on the task of transporting Wade. He wants to redeem himself and earn his son's respect.
It is a performance the equal of Crowe's. Each reveals little aspects of their characters as the story progresses. As each learns about the other, they seem to come to a better understanding of their nemesis. I won't call them friends, but they seem to appreciate the choices each has made, and in some cases, will make, throughout the course of the film.
Peter Fonda turns in a stand-out performance as the Pinkerton agent who decides to take out his vengeance on Wade by trying to ensure he makes that train. Alan Tudyk (just seen in "Death at a Funeral") has another memorable supporting role as Doc Potter, drafted into the journey. Luke Wilson has a brief, but intense cameo as a railroad worker bent on revenge.
But the real standout of the supporting cast is Ben Foster. As Charlie Prince, we see a mirror image of what Ben Wade once was; all bad, driven to do nothing but rob money, kill anyone who gets in their way, keep his gang in order and help keep his boss out of jail. He quickly rounds up the gang to save Ben. When they realize what is required to save Wade, he quickly silences their objections to what lies ahead. We never feel as though there is any question he will succeed in his plan; he is that driven, that committed to Wade.
The film is filled with great dialogue, the type of dialogue that helps to build the characters and allow us to learn about their past, giving us a more rounded view of their persona. Throughout, Wade and Dan have conversations which initially start as a minor form of mind game initiated by Wade. But as he gets to know the rancher, he starts to subtly reveal things about himself. Both characters are the better for this subtle form of exposition.
These same conversations also help to lay the groundwork for the finale. Now, I still don't buy into the film's conclusion, I don't believe some of the actions of some of the characters, but the film sets up this ending very well, dropping little clues and hints throughout.
The dialogue also appears to be authentic. As the characters speak, they don't use any modern day phrases, ruining the image of watching two men in the Old West. Period characters speaking in modern dialect is a more common thing than you might realize; because we are familiar with modern day words and phrases, it is more difficult for us to realize these are being used inappropriately in a period piece. It is interesting that we are now seeing a variety of projects attempting to give us a hyper-realistic view of what life was like in the Old West. First, HBO's "Deadwood" created by David Milch, and in which every other word out of every character's mouth is the "F" word. But it works, and is surprisingly engrossing. Now with "3:10 To Yuma", we see another thorough, seemingly accurate depiction of a different part of the Old West.
There are also a number of terrific action sequences, keeping things lively and interesting. Because this is a western, these involve robbing stagecoaches, shootouts and chases on horseback. I realize some people may not appreciate this type of action, too old-fashioned, but it gives a stronger sense of immediacy, of danger to the film. Because the things are happening on a smaller scale to `real' people, they seem more dangerous.
"3:10 To Yuma" is a very good film. A remake of the Glenn Ford - Van Heflin original, I have never seen the first film, so I can't compare the two. But the new version featuring great performances from Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, a number of fine supporting performances, and great dialogue is a very good film.