Monday, October 01, 2007

3:10 to Yuma

Over the weekend off I watched a lot of movies, played a lot of video games and read a lot of comics. I went to the movie theatre a few times and the first movie I saw on my hiatus was 3:10 to Yuma.

I like westerns. I own a lot of westerns and I've seen a lot of westerns. It's true that the best westerns are those that strike a very subtle difference between the hero and the villain. In the best of them, generally, the villain is a shadowy reflection of the hero and the film is framed around them having similar goals. To a certain extent, Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma does just that.

In fact Russell Crowe’s Wade character even likes Christian Bales rancher and goes so far as to even consider him a friend.

The first two thirds of the film worked really well for me. Those minutes of the film were a bit slow, but I usually grant westerns a bit of leeway in that regard, especially if they build to the sort of climax that you come to expect from a genre that was mastered by the likes of John Ford, Howard Hawks, Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. But this is where 3:10 to Yuma turns into a film worthy of the ADD of the MTV generation and ceases to make any logical sense. The characters from the first two thirds of the film ceased to exist and in their place were preposterous, contrived, Hollywood versions of them. It's not the actors fault, it's the screen-writer trying too hard to "hip-up" the script. Unfortunately, he got to page 90, decided he had no idea how the hell to end the movie and decided to end it in the least expected way possible. Ending a movie in an unexpected way isn't exactly a bad thing, but when it ends in a way that so thoroughly betrays everything that precedes it, it turns to shit.

3:10 to Yuma, in my humble opinion, started strong but then it turned to shit.

Some may disagree with me (particularly those of the ADD 40 cuts a second generation), but that's my assessment.

If you want a good and entertaining western that will kick your ass, go rent Silverado, or A Fistful of Dollars. Unforgiven maybe, The Searchers, definitely. Rio Bravo.

These are good westerns. It's too bad no one makes a western this good anymore, otherwise we'd see a lot more of this truly American art-form.

I'd be thrilled to see it.

1 comment:

Creole Wisdom said...

I wanted to write and say that I found your guys' blog through the BYU protest video on YouTube. Great work!