This is a Western about a robber named Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) that carelessly become caught by local authorities when romping with a woman. Ben is as bad as they come and his outfit is responsible for twenty-two robberies. His outfit is waiting for him near Mexico, but close enough to come back and take Wade before the Sheriff can get him to the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. He recruits help that includes a small time rancher that has only one leg named Dan Evans (Christian Bale), who is not only about to lose his own ranch, but his oldest sons respect as well. Evans will receive a $200 reward if he succeeds in getting Wade on the train. The trip is perilous as the group seems to be dropping like flies in conflict with Wades outfit, Apache Indians, railroad bandits, and Wade himself. Then, his son William (Logan Lerman) joins to help and their journey to contention becomes that much more complex.
Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are both stand up actors but Russell Crowe just stole every scene he was in. He portrayed Wade as the most low down dirty rotten kind of man their was. But somehow he is the most likable character in the story. His charisma with the women, his insight into people, and his own self acknowledgement about being a man who lives for the moment, takes what he wants, and does what he pleases, and feels no moral repercussions for the wrongs he does commit. In contrast Dan Evans is an extremely moral man who lives his life simply and is trying to get his family by as honestly as possible. His oldest son looks down on him, and his fate plagues Evans terribly. The interaction between Wade and Evans eventually makes both characters grow. The affect each has on the other pushes the film forward to the very climatic ending.
The score, the visuals, and excellent casting help evolve this exciting tale that involves the destinies of two men on very different destinations, yet the same path. Where they end, who they become is very different from where they began at the beginning of the story. The final gunfight isn’t about tricks and special effects, it’s about emotion, change, desperation, and valor.
3:10 To Yuma was not the blow ‘em up, shoot ‘em up western I had anticipated. It turned out to be a very in depth story about the souls of men, and what men will do when they have to do it. It was an excellent movie that needs to been seen by many. Go rent it, or even buy it. Three out of Four stars.