Thursday, September 27, 2007

3:10 to Yuma: A Four-Sentence Movie Review

"Women want to be with him, and men want to be him" is a cliche often reserved for figures such as James Bond or George Clooney, but I think it can also apply to Ben Wade, the roguishly charming, lethally homicidal, yet curiously ethical outlaw played by Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma.  At certain points during the movie, it seemed almost comical to me how Wade magnetically attracts the attention of anyone in the room with him (especially the few women in the story; "Howdy, I'm Ben Wade - bad-ass and total sex machine"), but it's entirely believable, given that outlaws were likely the celebrities of their day.

In the presence of such a mythic figure, people let their curiosities and inferiorities overwhelm them, which explains the motivations of every other character in the story - particularly Christian Bale's Dan Evans, who seeks to redeem himself in the eyes of a family and community that looks down upon him - and gives Wade the physical and psychological advantage in every situation.  If I've made this sound all character-driven and talky, don't worry because it also brings all the gunfighting, shoot-em-up violence you could ever want in a modern Western, mostly thanks to Wade's sidekick, Charlie Prince, who allows Ben Foster to re-invent himself from a guy who's played mostly wussies (like on Six Feet Under) to an unhinged killing machine.