3:10 to Yuma (Mangold, 2007)

3:10 to Yuma, James Mangold’s bloated but entertaining remake of the Delmer Daves’ classic western, surprises only in how consistently it bounces back and forth from tense, intimate action to meandering, repetitive plot filler. Mangold keeps the story focused on Dan Evans’ (Christian Bale) attempt to deliver infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to the titular prison train despite the cowardice of his companions and the brutal gang of robbers hot on their trail. However, the film is overly straightforward and Mangold spends a tedious amount of time on Wade’s lethal legend and mythology, which doesn’t really set him apart from the cliched villains of past westerns. The filmmakers do realize the genius behind Christian Bale’s subtle and haunting performance as the crippled rancher trying to redeem his failing family life and masculinity, giving him even more screen time than star Crowe. 3:10 to Yuma isn’t a great film merely for it’s sheer lack of creativity and ingenuity in dealing with the western genre (a hard task I’ll admit), yet Mangold manages to craft some classic moments of tension during scenes in cramped spaces – a chase through the hole of a mountain and Evans’ ending shootout remain fascinating because they bring the violence in close. I’ve heard a few reviewers comment on how the railroad and it’s agents are the real villain in 3:10 to Yuma, but this isn’t enough of a critique to forgive Mangold for his one-note supporting cast of deputies, Pinkertons, and railroad men surrounding the two leads. Only Evans’ fourteen-year old son William played by the unforgiving Logan Lerman, resonates with the same complexity as Bale. In the end, 3:10 to Yuma resides in the fun but forgetful section of my movie-watching mind, ultimately a disappointment considering the talent involved and my love for the genre.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s