3:10 to Yuma

Once in a while we still get to see a grown-up film, a man's movie. A tale that is well-crafted and steady. The plot is kept tense by brilliant performances, dialog and soundtrack. "3:10 to Yuma" starring Russel Crowe, Christian Bale and Ben Foster is a remake of a 1957 film of the same name with some changes and is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard. This is essentially a battle of wits played behind a gun battle; a battle of responsibility and post-war disillusionment with ethics.

Russel Crowe plays Ben Wade, a criminal, who is being escorted to the the train in the title eventually to the prison by Dan Evans played by Christian Bale. Getting Wade to the train is going to difficult because Wade is almost a mythical draw and his posse, led by an extraordinary performance by Ben Foster, wants to free him at any cost. However, Ben is an unusual criminal and he begins to like Dan which makes things even more difficult.

Seems like Russel Crowe often does his best when partnered with another formidable character/actor (Kevin Spacey & Guy Pearce in L.A. Confidential, Al Pacino in The Insider, Denzel Washington in The American Gangster) and this film is essentially a a vehicle that feeds the hostility, the conversation and eventual trust and understanding that develops between Dan and Ben. It is the kind of tale that Michael Mann would present. Criminals and cops are essentially the same people and on any given day it may be hard to tell them apart.

Both Crowe and Bale and brilliant as one would expect them to be.

It borrows the essential motor of the plot from the great High Noon (the race toward the clock) but is actually very different from that earlier film. High Noon is essentially a social film about social responsibility whereas this film is personal and about personal responsibility.