Wednesday, August 27, 2008

3:10 TO YUMA

3:10 TO YUMA
Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Ben Foster, Peter Fonda, Logan Lerman

"Time waits for one man"

Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is a rancher who has fallen on hard times. His land is about to be repossessed, he has huge debts and his son has lost faith in him. For a fee of US$ 200, he decides to be part of a group who will escort a recently captured outlaw (Ben Wade) to Contention (a town). A fair amount that will 'solve' all his problems.

Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is the head of a robbery gang who has victimized several towns. He is a ruthless, psalms quoting murderer without any moral conviction. He is wily, charming in a menacing way and can easily outwit and outgun any of his rivals. He doesn't resist being captured and is now being escorted to a town where he will be put on the 3:10pm train to Yuma.

As the journey progresses through rough terrain, the two main characters engage in a repartee of wits. The beguiling Ben Wade always managing to draw out the silent type Dan Evans. Their exchange is compelling to watch. You are given a glimpse into their very core being without feeling the need to take sides. You are always aware of the fact that Evans is the 'good' guy and Wade is the villain. To further complicate matters, Dan's oldest son William took it upon himself to join the escorting party. The 'road trip' also serves as an eye opener for the young lad who begins to see his father in a completely different light.

The point of contention unfolds in Contention (the town) where all hell breaks loose in more ways than one. The script/plot suddenly implodes to an unbelievable stance. You can't help but pose a lot of questions as the last few minutes of the film explodes before your very eyes. The sudden change of heart in Ben Wade is questionable. The whole 'escape' sequences although thrilling to watch is reduced to a case of moments. The heroic ending is just too sappy for a film which extolled all along a never say die attitude. But nevertheless the good casting feat sort of salvages this Western.

Russell Crowe as usual delivers on the spot. And thank God for subtitles or else I won't be able to understand his lines. I never did, actually in any of his films. Ha! It is a bit odd to see Christian Bale in a father role but he essayed it with aplomb. His subtle way of acting best suits his character. His chemistry with Crowe was very good. Both of them were able to bring out the depth of their characters' soul even for a few minutes. Ben Foster as the relentless Charlie Prince one of Ben Wade's posse members was a revelation. He gave a solid believable performance. A good supporting part.

So give or take a few highly implausible scenes, this movie was on the average a good study of human behaviour of two well developed characters. Two contrasting figures who embark on a journey neither of them is compelled to take. An adventure fraught with tense dramatic moments, intrigue, psyching up each other's character as well as a period (however brief) of self discovery. This Western has its fair share of dialogue driven scenes as well as powerful gunpowder exchanges between the good and the bad guys, all the key ingredients to make it watchable enough.

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