Wednesday, September 26, 2007

3:10 to Yuma.

James Mangold | 2007 | 117 min | US

3:10 is a remake of a 1957 picture of the same name. This one stays fairly true to the constraints of a traditional western, eschewing the bloody nihilism of last year's brilliant revival western The Proposition. It's a good move, allowing the leads to shine + their dynamic to unfold casually. Mangold also stays conservative visually. There isn't much need for camera flash in the beautiful countryside of the American southwest.

Christian Bale is a master of transforming himself from role to role. He is a joy to watch again here as a desperate family man who agrees to escort outlaw Ben Wade (solid work by Russell Crowe) to a prison-bound train in exchange for a sum that will save his farm. Ben Foster + Peter Fonda are along for the ride too, each turning in good performances. Though there are some terrific action pieces, including a lengthy climax shoot-out, the real joy in this film is watching the two leads, guarding themselves as they grow genuinely fond of each other despite their circumstances.

The play between the action + quieter dramatic scenes is perfectly paced. Despite a two-hour runtime, the film flies by. Great movie.

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