Jan 302008

Note: This review contains spoilers. Please don’t read if you are sensitive to that sort of thing. 

I recently watched the Western, 3:10 to Yuma with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, and they both play their parts brilliantly. The plot is essentially that Dan Evans (Bale), a crippled civil war vet,  is trying to live off a dead ranch in a drought. One day, he and his two sons witness a stagecoach hijacking by none other than Ben Wade (Crowe). Wade heads into town, and Evans follows. Soon, Wade is captured and Evans agrees to help escort him to the 3:10 train to Yuma prison for two hundred dollars. A mighty battle of wills ensues, as the suave and sweet talking killer, Wade, proceeds to kill many of the party accompanying him. Not only that, his gang is searching for them and will surely kill them all when found.

There is certainly a theme of faith and having faith in something in this movie. Bale’s character is constantly asking his wife to believe in him, his teenage son, William, doesn’t believe in him. Wade quotes the Bible every once in a while. As I wrote earlier, in McCabe&Mrs. Miller, the personal mythology of the cowboy hero as a tough defender is shattered when McCabe is revealed to be a coward. In a similar, Evans is revealed to have only faced one battle, and in it, one of his own men shot off his leg. No wonder he has trouble getting his son to believe in him. But, it seems that the man who has nothing to believe in (and thus simply lives by his own whims), Wade, wants to believe in Evans and help him to bring himself to justice (even though he himself has escaped from Yuma twice). Near the end, when everyone else has surrendered to Wade’s posse, Evans tells his son that he was the only one who was man enough to escort Wade to the station, and it seems that Wade wants to see this played out, and helps Evans along.

Ah well.

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