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3:10 to Yuma

Time Waits For One Man 

Year: 2007 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from 3:10 to Yuma

Director: James Mangold

Starring: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Logan Lerman, Ben Foster, Peter Fonda

It is difficult to find a remake that is as good as, let alone better than the original, but 3:10 to Yuma certainly challenges this conception. The film's premise is simple, but effective: After notorious Arizona outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) is captured, it's up to a handful of locals, including down on his luck rancher Dan Evans (Bale) and bounty hunter Byron McElroy (Fonda), to bring him to justice. Their mission is to transport Wade to the town of Contention where he will be put on the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. While this journey entails a trip through dangerous Apache territory, the greatest threat to the posse comes from the prisoner himself and his murderous henchmen led by Charlie Prince (Foster).

Mangold keeps the film moving from the get-go, starting with an opening stagecoach robbery and on through the journey to Contention and then finally the climactic train station shoot-out. 3:10 to Yuma isn't preoccupied with scenery and majestic vistas of a bygone era; it's an action-thriller about fascinating people, and that's what makes it more approachable and fun than other recent Westerns. Yet, this is more than a simple good versus bad shoot-em-up. Wade and Evans spend most of their time matching wits and swapping philosophies than firing pistols or punching each other. Helped by the excellent performances from Bale and Crowe, 3:10 to Yuma is an evocative morality tale about what makes men good and what makes them bad, leaving the audience unsure as to which side to root for.

3:10 to Yuma packs the story with fine supporting performances too. As Wade's lieutenant, the ever-intense Ben Foster is as cruel and he is loyal with his meticulously groomed beard and pearl white leather tunic. Peter Fonda is an unscrupulous bounty hunter in the escort, while Alan Tudyk provides subtle comic relief as the horse doctor reluctantly recruited to the party.

But if old-fashioned gunplay is what you want from a Western, then you certainly won’t be disappointed, as 3:10 to Yuma is framed by two spectacular shootouts. The opening scene has Wade and his gang rob an armed stagecoach carrying the Southern Pacific Railroads payroll, whilst the film closes with a standoff between Wade’s men and his escorts. 3:10 to Yuma is not only a proper update of its original, but definitive proof that Hollywood can still make a good, traditional Western.

Laura Summers

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)