Friday, February 19, 2010

551 - You Aught To Know - 3:10 to Yuma - #11

3:10 to Yuma, James Mangold, 2007, 34 points

The only western I ever really liked was The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, until I saw 3:10 to Yuma. I remember thinking that Russel Crowe and Christian Bale would have made an odd pair to do a western film. But this film is an example of how great actors like them can play any part well, and can take an ordinary story and make it something special.To me, the greatest thing about this film is the moral lesson it teaches. A cold, uncaring, hardened criminal is escorted across the desert to a train station by a good man. Our good man has had such a bad hand of life dealt to him that he is desperate for money, and willing to take on such a dangerous case if it means making ends meet for his family. This film shows how it plausible that bad people can be turned to good, or at least be made better, by those who show them unrelenting and uncompromising virtue. Even if you sacrifice everything, virtue is really the only thing that can truly cure vice. If you manage to turn just one bad man, your life has not been lived in vane. This theme may be common to many Westerns, but I have seen few Westerns that focus on the struggle between good and evil in such a believable way. The film is somewhat original in that the "good guy" is actually not the stoic tough-guy with a big heart that we see in other westerns, and the "bad guy" is actually someone we come to love by the end of the story, and the antagonist is the bad guy's friend who is trying to spring him from captivity. I am indifferent to the western genre, but the characters in this film are endearing to me. It takes great acting to pull it off. - Ramin Honary

Next time on You Aught to Know: Tiffany Bullen

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