MOVIE: 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Before I get started on this one, I thought I should mention that I’m a HUGE fan of Westerns, and it’s really really hard to make one I absolutely can’t stand watching.  Some of the first movies I ever saw were Westerns, and I was practically raised on the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone spaghetties.  Though my list of “top ten favorite movies of all time” is constantly in flux, it always features the movie Tombstone somewhere in the ranking.  And I’ve probably seen The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly 96,000 times.  Give or take. 

Surprisingly enough, however, I’ve somehow managed to get through life without ever having seen the original 3:10 to Yuma(1957), starring Western staples Glenn Ford and Van Heflin (better known to me as Joe from Shane).  So, I may have liked this remake of Yuma as much as I did simply because I was judging it on its own merits instead of comparing it to the original.  In other words, your mileage may vary.

The new Yuma stars Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, and fans of my site know I’m not really a big fan of Bale’s.  I recognize fully — FULLY, I tell you! — that he’s an extremely talented actor.  However, there’s just something about his mouth and his American accent that really. . . makes me cringe.   I know — KNOW, I tell you! — that I’m the only person in the entire galaxy who feels this way about Christian Bale and, in particular, who feels this way about his American accent (which everybody else seems to think is spot-on, so it must be).  However, I can’t help it. I’m sorry.  I’ve tried really hard to love Christian Bale — for your sake — and it’s simply not happening.

(I’m sure someone will post in comments that this is because I’m either A) stupid or B) jealous of him (that one’s always MY favorite. . .). And to you folks, I’d like to say: by all means, go ahead and attempt to insult me into changing my mind.  See how far it gets ya.)

That said, I actually didn’t mind Bale too much in this.  He does a really good job with his role — obviously, since he’s a BRILLIANT ACTOR (I KNOW, I tell you!) — and I was fine once I figured out I could just not look at his mouth and that would solve a lot of my problems.  And Crowe — well, Crowe is just fantastic.  It was nice to see him in a role like this again, after recently having seen him so woefully miscast in A Good Year.

As you may or may not know, this movie is about a posse.  Bale plays farmer Dan Evans, who is struggling under a pile of debt and about to lose his farm.  One day, he’s riding into town with his sons when he accidentally runs into a stage coach robbery.  At the helm of the gang of banditos is the infamous bad dude Ben Wade (Crowe).  Something about Dan sparks Ben’s interest and respect right away, and instead of killing him like he would anybody else who interrupted one of his hold-ups, Wade just takes his horses and sends him on his way.

Later that day, Dan encounters Wade again when Wade is caught and arrested by the local sheriff.  On hearing they need to put together a posse to take Ben to Contention (such a great name for a town) to catch the 3:10 train to Yuma Territorial Prison, Dan offers to join the group, if the sheriff will kick in $200 so he can save his farm.  The sheriff agrees and the posse begins.

While they work to get Ben across the desert, through Indian territory, and down to Contention, Ben’s gang is following them and plotting ways to rescue their leader (and trust me, I’ve been to Yuma Territorial Prison myself and the place is the very definition of “hell hole” — I fully understand why Ben is less than happy about boarding that train).  The gang is being temporarily lead by Charlie Prince (Ben Foster), one of the most violent sociopaths to grace a Western movie screen, in my experience.  Prince will stop at nothing to get Wade back, and it’s not really because the two are fast friends.  I guess it’s more an issue of thief pride and respect, more than anything else.  Because clearly Prince doesn’t have feelings.  Like, in general.  At all.  And as for Wade — well, he’s a bit more complicated emotionally, but no less willing to stab someone to death with a fork just because they can’t carry a tune.  

All in all, I thought this was a beautifully made film, with great camera work and scenery, and some extremely intense and effective acting on the parts of all involved.  Great storyline, great suspense, great everything.  Definitely recommended to fans of either lead actor, as well as to anybody who loves a good cowboy flick.  Giddyup!

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Western
Cast:  Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Ben Foster, Logan Lerman, Peter Fonda

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21 Responses to “MOVIE: 3:10 to Yuma (2007)”

  1. Trip Says:

    I *knew* there was a new release to push to the top of the Netflix queue – it was this one. I struggled to remember it for two days.

    Meg – you have to watch Equilibrium. That may finally make you like Christian Bale. Maybe. It’s laughably bad, but it’s certainly no worse than White Noise 2 or that asteroid movie you watched.

    Trust me: the puppy in the trunk scene is where Bale shines.

  2. Lorraine Says:

    I admit to being a fan of Bale’s. I haven’t seen “Yuma” yet but it is on my queue (lots of “long waits” for the new year). I did like Equilibrium but my guilty pleasure for Bale is “Reign of Fire”. This movie has a can’t miss trio: Bale, Gerard Butler, & dragons! It even has an over-the-top Matthew McConaughey. This movie is dark, crazy and fun. And, did I mention that it has dragons? 😉

  3. Trip Says:

    Man, I totally forgot about Reign of Fire. Choppers vs. dragons over England in a post-apocalyptic thrill ride. I do remember a scene where, since there’s no TV or movies anymore, the adults tell stories to the kids about Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan and the gang storming the Death Star – real cute.

  4. alisa Says:

    I have to say I can’t stand Christian Bale either. He’s anorexic, everytime I see him I yell at the t.v for him to eat something. Eat something damit!!

    Oh and don’t get me started on what a AWFUL Batman he makes.

  5. megwood Says:

    Well, crap, now I’m going to have to rent “Reign of Fire.” After so many years of successful avoidance!

    You guys are fired.

  6. Lorraine Says:

    Meg – don’t hold this one against me if you don’t like it! If you are not a fan of Bale’s then this might not be for you … but you do seem to like “B” movies. Don’t worry, Bale doesn’t do an American accent and I can’t say that I understand everything said by him and Butler, but I love their natural accents.

    Trip – I loved your “choppers vs. dragons” line.

  7. jo Says:

    OMG – you mean I’m not the only one who things Bale has cringe-mouth? I was seriously considering therapy, or perhaps new glasses.

    You won’t be sorry about Reign of Fire. It’s so awesome I didn’t cringe at Bale’s mouth, not once.

  8. Liz Says:

    You’re going to have to fire me, too! I also saw “Reign of Fire,” and liked it (and I love that “chopper vs. dragons” line). But I don’t even remember C. Bale at all in that; maybe I didn’t know who he was yet. However, I did know him, and like him, in “Equilibrium” (sorry, Trip, I thought that movie was okay). It reminded me a little of “The Matrix,” but MUCH better (the 2nd Matrix film was so bad, I didn’t even bother with the 3rd one). Now I’m going to have to watch Bale’s mouth, because it never occurred to me that he had “cringe mouth,” but I bet now I’ll see it, and hate it, too! I also didn’t hate him in the “Batman” movie, or in the “American Psycho” movie (although I thought that one was really dumb!). So, to me, he’s good enough not to hate, but not much more!

    Well, Meg, it looks like now I’m using your blog to respond to some of your readers! You’ve got a nice little community going on here. Alisa – I was going to respond hotly that I first saw Timothy Spall in “Topsy Turvy,” the movie about Gilbert and Sullivan (whom I LOVE), playing a (real-life) member of the company that first performed the G&S shows, and he did a song by the “Mikado” brilliantly! But, dang! There was a “Harry Potter” actor in that one, too – “Moaning Myrtle!” She was the company’s soprano, and she sang quite well, as well as playing a bitter young woman with a drinking problem. I think the thing about the “Harry Potter” films is that they recruit just about every English actor they can find, and there are so many of them now, and so many roles, that we find ourselves “tripping” over them — hee, hee – pun intended! 🙂

    Lorraine, I had a response for you, too … but I’ve now forgotten what it was! Wait! I remember! It was about Peter Outerbridge (in “Men With Brooms”). I didn’t realize he was considered “little known;” I’ve followed him for years, and for a long time, I was convinced he had to be related to Peter O’Toole, because they look so much alike. They aren’t, though.

    Okay, I’m going to stop now!

  9. Lorraine Says:

    Liz – I think that Peter Outerbridge is “little known” in the US but must be a favorite in Canada. Most everything he is in is produced in Canada. I’ve seen him recently in a TV Lifetime movie called “My Name is Sarah” with Jennifer Beals (Flashdance!) which was rather good. Also, a Canadian TV series called “ReGenesis” which is about a genetics/biochemistry lab in which he is the lead. He almost always is cast as the rakish but sensitive guy which he plays perfectly.

    Trip, Jo and Liz – so fun that you all like “Reign of Fire”! Liz – Bale is the lead so he’s hard to miss 🙂 But, he is hidden behind a beard, is normal weight, and has a mumbly Brit accent so it is not his typical American role.

    I’m surprised that Bale is such a turnoff to many of you. I don’t want to check out his supposed defects – I’d rather go on just enjoying him. I’ve adored him since “Newsies”. I haven’t seen “American Psycho” or “The Machinist” so I’ve missed his anorexic roles. He was by far the best thing in “The Prestige” and acted circles around Hugh Jackman.

  10. brianna Says:

    Have to take exception to that last comment. I’m a big fan of both Bale (although now you have me thinking about his mouth. Oh great. As you said, he’s a fantastic actor, but now that you mention it, there is that mouth thing, which, of course I now will be so aware of, lol) and Jackman, and I think they both did a wonderful job in The Prestige. They both should have had MUCH more recognition for that movie. Jackman’s character was the showier, more obvious character; Bale’s the more subdued; so their characters’ intensity had to be demonstrated differently. But Jackman had to play three widely different characters, which he did brilliantly. Bale, of course, had to play two, but one was meant to fade into the background to be practically invisible to the end, and, in fact we weren’t meant to see differences in them. Bale did a great job of making some slight variations in the two, but it wasn’t better than Jackman’s three varied characters.

  11. sandy Says:

    I AGREE WITH YOU 100% BRIANNA!!!

  12. HF Says:

    Beg to differ – it was Hugh who acted circles around Bale, possibly because his character(s) had more layers. It was Hugh/Angier who kept me interested.

  13. Trip Says:

    OK, I confess – I don’t get the whole mouth thing about Christian Bale. I guess I have to let you ladies work that out amongst yourselves.

    But I won’t stand by idly and see Matrix Reloaded trashed like that. I loved all three of those movies – not equally, of course, but all of them are solid crazy big-budget sci-fi fanboy ambrosia. There’s no denying that.

    Liz – you must admit there were parts of Equilibrium that were unintentionally hilarious. I stand by my view that Christian Bale made that a better movie just by showing up, but come on…it doesn’t hold a candle to the Zen-and-leather awesomeness that is the Matrix trilogy.

    Lorraine – any movie where Christian Bale is upstaged by a bald, bearded, tattooed and well-armed Matthew McConaghey is the very definition of “fun” at the movies, bizarre dragon story notwithstanding.

    And for everyone reading this: Christian Bale is, by far, the most credible and sympathetic Bruce Wayne/Batman in movie history. (Does anyone else hate that new Dark Knight trailer, though?)

  14. Lorraine Says:

    Ladies, I used to think that Hugh Jackman just needed the right role to prove his greatness as an actor. I love him as Wolverine and love him in that PBS showing of Oklahoma. But, personally I have been underwhelmed by him in most other roles. Did you see “Scoop”? Not good. So, I agree to disagree and just say that Bale is the more interesting actor for me.

    Trip – Matthew McConaghey definitely had a very showy role in “Reign of Fire” and wasn’t afraid to just go for it. Kudos to him.

    For me, I think that Bale and Michael Keaton made equally credible Batmans.

    Love the discussion!

  15. brianna Says:

    I don’t know how we usurped a discussion re 3:10, but I just stumbled in here. I agree that Jackman needs to do a better job of choosing movies — he’s had some real clunkers (Van Helsing anyone?). Scoop was bad, but I blame Allen, not Jackman. The script, such as is was, was terrible and the directing worse. Jackman did what he could with that character (and made him look quite good, lol) He did a great job in Aronofsky’s Fountain, but that movie wasn’t going to put him on the map because it was so critically trashed. He is a very fine actor; his strength is in subtlety, which needs to be utilized. He needs someone else choosing his movies.

  16. Liz Says:

    Hey, guys, this is getting pretty funny! MEG, YOU NEED TO COME AND SAVE US! This is, after all, her blog, and the movie in question is, after all, “3:10 to Yuma” (isn’t it?). I must confess, I haven’t even seen this movie yet, although I’ve heard good reviews. I LOVE exchanging messages with you guys, but let’s not forget that MEG STARTED IT! 🙂 I know what we need! We need our own chatroom!

  17. megwood Says:

    Wow, I don’t have enough time to respond to the 86,000 comments that showed up this weekend, but suffice it to say, YAY! Keep it up, you guys! I’m perfectly happy to have you usurp the comments on any post, related or not. It’s fun.

    I liked “Scoop,” by the way. I’ll do anything for a couple of hours of Ian McShane, though.

  18. megwood Says:

    p.s. Equilibrium is now number 2 in my Netflix queue (after Reign of Fire). I’d make a joke about being embarrassed to have two such movies at the top of my list, but since I have a whole category called “Crap” in the tag cloud these days, I’m not sure that would fly. . .

    “Puppy in the trunk scene”??

  19. Anne Hedley Says:

    Hi Brianna – you have just tapped into an avid fan of Hugh Jackman I was very lucky indeed the first time I ever saw him was on the London Stage in Oklahoma he was awesome in acting, singing and dancing. He really does not have to prove his talent he needs a good script and director why is he being ignored by top directors they must know he is good and in any kind of role – his characterisation is first class and all are different. Don’t think Debra is the one to choose his roles either she tried to talk him out of X Men – well that least put him on the road for stardom which of course he has made. I personally feel with the right script and a good director I would have the pleasure of seeing him accept an Oscar.

  20. patrick Says:

    this is one of the best western flicks i have ever seen, don’t know who to love or hate, but somehow i love and hate everyone in the movie

  21. Lorraine Says:

    Just saw this. I must say that I am not a fan of Westerns but I gave this a try because Bale and Crowe(big fan of both). I thought they both were very good and the best scenes were the ones between the two of them. Love the glowering! I was also impressed by Ben Foster. He really stood out. But, I found the movie just ok. The ending was unbelievable and some of the shooting sequences were silly.

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