By Landon Hilst | Echo
Westerns have fallen out of the public eye since the turn of the century and a dramatic shift in genre appeals.
Once the most popular genre, Westerns were given new life when Lionsgate studio hired A-list actors, a relatively new but established filmmaker, and dusted off an old adventure for adaptation to modern big screen cinemas. This formula garnered much praise in September 2007, when the studio brought "3:10 to Yuma" back to life under the direction of James Mangold ("Logan").
The story beats from "3:10 to Yuma" were taken straight out of the original 1957 film, which was adapted from the short story of the same name from 1953. The plot revolves around Dan Evans, a down-on-his-luck Arizona rancher (Christian Bale) stumbling across the infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) while herding cattle with his boys. Under pressure from forces beyond his control, Dan decides to join the posse marching Wade to catch the 3:10 train to Yuma prison.
The posse's interactions with each other along the road to Contention are the bones that hold up this veteran tale, a highlight being Alan Tudyk's character of Doc Potter. But it is truly Crowe and Bale that demand the audience's attention with the sly, smooth-talking villain opposite the virtuous father figure.
Evans seeks justice from the drought and the railroad crushing his life as well as the respect of his eldest son, William (Logan Lerman), while Wade uses every opportunity available to manipulate his captors to his benefit. He taunts Evans with thoughts of what could have been and mistakes made, trying to engineer an escape for himself in what amounts to some of the best scenes of the movie.
The film devotes a lot of time toward understanding what drives these two men and how it influences the people that depend on them as leaders. In many ways there are similarities between their interesting dichotomy and the relationship between Christians and the temptations of the modern world.
Evans represents the strong, hard working men and women who stay devoted to the truths of God's Word while being tempted with greed and lust from evil forces like Wade. "3:10 to Yuma" does not shy away from underlying tones of ethics, further elevating the layers of enjoyment.
Mangold's retelling of this classic Western tale contains all of the favorite Western tropes ranging from stagecoach robberies, to saloon staredowns and exhilarating gunfights. Yet these don't feel out of place among the superhero brawls and big budget flicks of today. They are a refreshing, updated take on classic cinema, all beautifully shot, well choreographed and ready to be enjoyed by viewers at home.