3:10 to Yuma (2007) – [rate 3]
It’s a good thing I hadn’t realized this one was written by the same scenarists that wrote Wanted, or I might have worried that my verdict was influenced by my recent experience of that movie. 3:10 is a decent western and manages to add something to the genre. Of course, it is a genre-piece and as such I feel it should be held to a higher standard than anything that doesn’t try to fit a specific genre. That’s the price you pay for a lack of originality in my opinion. As westerns go, 3:10 to Yuma doesn’t disappoint, but neither does it impress.
3:10 doesn’t try too hard to be original. Instead, it just tells a story in the proven format of the typical western. Once again, we have bandits on the loose that have a charismatic leader. Ranchers struggle to make a living, looking for ways to make an extra buck. Railroads are racing to get constructed and stage coaches run the wages across the country. Visually, 3:10 is right on as well, modern in some ways but traditional in most. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t impress either.
Where The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005) and There Will Be Blood (2007) showed that the western genre is far from complete, 3:10 just tells a new tale. And I guess that’s where the main problem with the movie lies, since the plot has some glaring holes and – in my opinion – a thoroughly unsatisfying ending. I’m going to warn you about a mild spoiler and then ask you about this alternate ending I would propose: have Wade just shoot Prince and then let the bandits get away, leaving Evans. Show an epilogue where their band visits the house of the widow and her two sons to make sure the railroad lives up to their promise of delivering 1000$ and a supply of water. Justice would be served and we don’t need to see Wade make a silly 180, paying Evans more of a tribute than is warrented or to be expected based on what we learn in the movie.
3:10 is enjoyable for the fans of the genre, and the performance of Christian Bale is good, as usual. But it’s not a must-see for anyone but the fans of the genre.