From Rome to Yuma


I left the theatre at about midnight and raced to the closest computer to record my thoughts before hours of sleep, a host of dreams, and a fresh morning with new responsibilities worked to choke out all insight and vision. Alone for the past two hours, I was mesmerized by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale’s 3:10 to Yuma.

I have never been a fan of westerns. I have never seen a John Wayne film. I saw Tombstone for the first time, a month ago. But for some reason, the publicity for 3:10 to Yuma sucked me in like an eight-pound Oreck. I admit… the drawing power of Crowe and Bale together on screen is enough to open my wallet, no matter what the genre, but the western dynamic that brought Maximus and Batman together is what truly intrigued me. I put the release date on my calendar before I even knew the plot. Before I dig into my official review (of course, without giving away too much), let me sum up the experience with the following statement:

It was May of the year 2000 when I last remember being this excited about a film.

At that time, I remember thinking that no one could ever, even if all the stars in all the galaxies alligned, unleash a performance like Russ Crowe did in the Oscar-winning blockbuster, Gladiator. Well, someone did. In fact, it was the same person (which is not as ironic as first believed) – with the help of a man who has been on fire the past couple of years (The Machinist, Batman Begins, The Prestige). This film and their performances blew my mind. I didn’t want to leave the theatre.

Russel Crowe is breath-taking in this film. Whether he is a commander of the British Navy, a seasoned Roman General, or a near cerebral-superhuman, he morphs into a character that makes you forget you just paid to be entertained with fantasy. Quite honestly, I believe that Crowe might just be considered the greatest actor of our time when it is all said and done. Try to argue with his resume…go on…try. Don’t get me wrong, you can most assuredely argue for the likes of Denzel, Leo, J.D., and even Tommy Hanks, but I will still take the versatility and raw power of Crowe’s characters at the end of the day (and don’t forget that he is about to drop another nuclear bomb on the industry alongside Denzel in November). But in this film, he plays a character that I am still trying to figure out – a ruthless, self-absorbed outlaw / suprisingly compassionate hero. And like in his other films, Crowe again show his uncanny ability to drop monumental dialouge that makes my testosterone dance.

Whoa… let us not forget the compelling performance of protaganist, Christian Bale. He is the father of two boys and a rapidly-declining ranch…who has permanent wounds to both body and spirit. One of the reasons I flipped over this film is because of the emotional dynamic between Bale and his on-screen son. As of July 13, 2006, movies with deep-seeded, father-son issues strike a cord within my spirit that no other movies can touch. Films like John Q, Pursuit of Happiness, and even animated projects like Barnyard, send me to uncharted, emotional dimensions. Bale knocks one out of the park as he attempts to leave a legacy for his sons. Redemption. Honor.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the physical scenery and lanscape, which nearly screamed louder than the actor’s performances. The final scene and climax was particularly special with regards to the setting intricacies – a beautiful harmony of cold and arid conditions helped to set the tone for the film’s final descent and crescendo.

Honestly, 3:10 to Yuma is not an Oscar-type film. But my opinion is that it is a bit more contemplative than people will give it credit for – I found Yuma to be more than mere entertainment. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had in any theatre.  

I may never watch another western as long as I live, but I would watch this one again tomorrow… and the next day.


7 Responses

  1. Wow, this must be a good movie. Rachel and I will make it a date this weekend.

  2. Do it. To be honest…after I left the theatre, it didn’t take me long for me to think of you. I know you will love it.

  3. To watch this you will need:
    1.) A pen or pencil, your choice
    2.) Paper
    3.) A little over an hour of your time
    4.) Appreciation for deep thought.
    5.) Maybe some ice cream


  4. wow_ so many good movies and absolutely NO time
    but i will def go with you since u want to see this one again so much!

  5. I loved the movie too. I find myelf pondering it often – specifically, did certain things ” have to happen?” I have concluded “yes.”

    I would also reccommend Open Range (Robert Duval and Kevin costner). VERY good movie. Both would probably make my top 10.

  6. Sleet… Pitt has a western coming out called “The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford.” It has been released, but only in major markets. The reviews are great.

  7. yes, I watched this movie with some other fellas — solid…
    It certainly is deeper than it seems…

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