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Rated 2.93 stars
by 1065 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
3:10 to Nowhere
by Richard Jack Smith

Russell Crowe seemed a bit out of shape in two Ridley Scott duds, A Good Year (2006) and American Gangster (2007). So, it stands to reason that he would learn from his mistakes. However, 3:10 to Yuma attempts to breathe life into an old Glenn Ford western, yet it lacks one key ingredient: a good plot.

Ruthless outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) finds himself captured and due to be transported on a train to Yuma prison. En route to the train, Wade befriends Dan Evans (Christian Bale), a rancher whose land is about to be taken away from him.  Meanwhile, cold-blooded gunfighter Charlie Prince (played by Ben Foster) does everything he can to see that Wade is saved from a one-way trip to the hangmanís noose.

In my opinion, 3:10 to Yuma proves to be an average, run-of-the-mill sort of western Ė incredibly slow with uninspired dialogue and poor direction from James Mangold.  Michael McCuskerís editing style unbalances the film because he places more emphasis on the mundane aspects of the story, which results in the picture being dialogue heavy and light on action. His tendency to shift gears so suddenly disrupts the uneasy tone of the film, making it more severe than it needs to be.          

In a western, the composer has nowhere to hide musically. If the themes are not strong, then the filmmaker faces a losing proposition. This failing feels most apparent in Marco Beltramiís score. For the most part, his random and nondescript instrumentals are completely devoid of emotional resonance or imagination.     

Likewise, Russell Crowe and co-star Christian Bale look uncomfortable in each otherís presence. This may be because Crowe is a better actor than Bale... Or it may be due to neither man pulling his weight sufficiently in order to save this turkey of a confection.  I really hesitate to mention Ben Foster because his part appears to be underwritten as well. As for the ending, itís a copout -- plain and simple.

(Released by Lionsgate and rated "R" for violence and some language.)

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