Reel Shorts | 3:10 to Yuma

6 09 2007

Although Russell Crowe gets lots of ink for his various public outbursts, many people forget that he is a very talented actor when he has the right material. In his latest film, “3:10 to Yuma,” Crowe flexes his seldom-used acting muscles vigorously in the Western mini-epic.Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is in danger of being evicted from his land and has slowly began losing the respect of his wife and children. With his barn recently burned to the ground, Evans is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.Meanwhile, vicious killer Ben Wade (Crowe) and his posse led by his second in charge, the slightly effeminate sharpshooter, Charlie Prince (Ben Foster) are planning to rob an oncoming stagecoach. Destiny brings Evans and Wade together early and the chemistry between the two serves as the engine for this well-acted story.After successfully extracting a small amount of money from Wade earlier, Evans accepts a job escorting the killer across the Old West to catch a train to Yuma where Wade will be executed. The only thing standing in his way is eluding a bloodthirsty group of Apache Indians and trying to stay one step ahead of Wade’s murderous posse.Evans is a simple man who life has dealt a bad hand. Walking with a noticeable limp, courtesy of an accident that he suffered in the war, Evans is trying to make it the best way he can. His adversary Wade is an enigma, a cold-blooded killer who skillfully sketches in his down time. The two men have nothing in common, but slowly they form a bond of mutual respect.In addition to Crowe and Bale’s amazing performances, Foster’s loyal but maniacal Prince is a signature performance that may garner him some Best Supporting Actor award consideration later this year.Not since Clint Eastwood’s menacing turn in “The Unforgiven” has there been a Western as well done as this film. Between Crowe and Brad Pitt’s soon-to-be released, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” both men are trying to bring the sexy Western back. “3:10 to Yuma” upholds it part of the bargain and with “American Gangster” still to come in November the two films combined may enhance Crowe’s award chances.Grade: A-

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