That term first came to my mind when, as a child, I’d try to say “stream of consciousness” and end up with “brainflow.” It seems to fit here.

Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. (For now, these ones revolve mostly around films.)

3:10 to Yuma

Sunday, September 16th, 2007 9:09 pm—Film

3:10 to Yuma (USA 2007, Western), Writers: Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas; Director: James Mangold

I’m pressed for time to write this post, but if I don’t get to it soon I’m afraid I won’t at all, and that would be a shame because 3:10 to Yuma is a fantastic film. Definitely one I want to recommend. The first thing I did after seeing it was tell my stepfather to go see it. He loves “guy” movies and he loves great movies, and 3:10 to Yuma is definitely both those things.

The film is based on Elmore Leonard’s short story and is a remake of the 1957 film starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. James Mangold directed the latest version. It’s an excellent thing when you marry a genre like action or western with a filmmaker known for sensitive, complicated films that feature wonderful characters (Walk the Line, Cop Land, Girl Interrupted). You wind up with a unique take on genres that characteristically trade depth in favour of bullets and explosions.

3:10 to Yuma illustrates the point that all films, regardless of genre, benefit from strong character development. It’s what makes the Bourne trilogy superior to the Die Hard series. And it’s why Daniel Craig in Casino Royale was the most successful Bond to date.

The story follows the relationship between Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) and Dan Evans (Christian Bale). Okay, I realize it’s not sounding like much of a “guy” movie yet. ;-) But hold your horses! Wade is a deadly outlaw. And Evans is part of a posse that’s escorting Wade to Contention where he’ll catch the 3:10 train to the Yuma prison. It’s a dangerous job for Evans; more than one member of the posse meets with Wade’s violent ways en route to Contention.

Seeing this movie, I felt like I was back in film school watching a William Wyler western. It’s a classic western with the benefit of modern technology and all that it entails: excellent effects, sharp visuals, etc. But the reason it works so well is that the characters are believable. Crowe and Bale are a great pairing. Of the two, I’m partial to Crowe. Bale always strikes me as a little bit one note, although he was excellent in Batman Begins. But both give top-notch performances.

However, it’s Ben Foster as Charlie Prince who steals the show. From the moment we first look into his eyes, it’s evident how much work he’s put in to creating his character. You know that he has developed an entire history for Prince. And it shapes his every word, his every movement. Watch him steal the coat off a sleeping townsman and sweep it over his own shoulders. Foster is magnetic in every scene he plays in. (He’s also incredibly versatile; his Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand was 180° from Prince.)

I could go on. But not tonight. ;-) See this film!

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