Yep, that’s me on ‘3:10 to Yuma’ box

Your faithful DVD reviewer hopes you’re looking forward to one of the best films of 2007, 3:10 to Yuma, when the Russell Crowe-Christian Bale-starring Western rides into video town next Tuesday, Jan. 8.

With more echoes of Oscar-winning classic High Noon than 1957’s original Yuma starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, director James Mangold’s film is exciting, absorbing and philosophically potent. The tale of a luckless farmer (Bale) who bravely agrees to take a captured outlaw (Crowe) to prison, it’s violent, all right, but not as a dramatic crutch, especially considering the powerful performances of its stars. Crowe is erudite, charismatic and quietly indomitable, while Bale is heart-breakingly flawed yet courageous. Ben Foster deserves a supporting-actor Oscar nod for his gun-crazy punk in Crowe’s employ, and don’t overlook Peter Fonda as one of Bale’s fellow escorts. Talk about icons — and yes, he has Western roots. The Hired Hand, anyone?

Normally I balk at Hollywood’s ceaseless hypefest, but in this film’s case — busted! Yep, that’s me, quoted endlessly on Yuma, from its DVD box’s front cover to its national TV ads to its web spots, in each case proclaiming it “The best Western since Unforgiven!”

So hysterically hypey. So shameless. So — wait a minute.

For one thing, keep in mind that the exclamation point wasn’t mine. Studios have always done that. Call it misleading, or call it “emphasis for artistic license.” For another, consider that calling anything the best Western in 15 years is almost like celebrating the best ice hockey team in the Sahara — there just aren’t a lot from which to choose.

But that’s not Yuma’s fault. The fact is, it’s a great film, and great films deserve special praise. Check it out next week. You’ll be glad you did.

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2 Responses to “Yep, that’s me on ‘3:10 to Yuma’ box”

  1. bigmoneygrip Says:

    I can remember growing up, just starting to go to movies, and being so disappointed that there were no westerns. I was born in 1963, so that gives you a time reference. When “Pale Rider” was released, I was pleased that it was a western, but having cut my teeth on the late night reruns of “Red River”, “The Searchers” and “Bend of the River”, I was mildly disappointed. So, it was with some apprehension that I went to see the next western released, “Silverado.” There may NEVER be a more glorious opening scene than in Silverado. When the Scott Glen character opens the door after killing his would-be killers, and we follow him into the most beautiful panorama that I’ve ever seen – as the music swells and “Silverado” appears on the screen – I got goose bumps as big as grapes. One of my favorite parts, which I think is Kasdan’s homage to the great westerns of times ago, is when Scott Glen busts his brother out of jail and as they mount up and gallop out of town we see the last volley of ineffectual shots fired after them . . . then comes the posse.

    One of these days, I have to get to that place where they shot the panorama. I think it is listed in IMDB, but not sure which one. Oh, well, any excuse to go to the mountains of New Mexico and Utah is fine with me.

  2. farsider Says:

    Bigmoneygrip:

    You’re right — the vistas, panoramas and wide open spaces are a big part of the Western’s appeal. Though a Texan, I have special fondness for New Mexico and Arizona and enjoy seeing films set there. Those are all New Mexico locations in “3:10 to Yuma.”

    All the best, as we giddyup toward that ol’ corral — Bruce

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