Revival of the Western
Wow. So, last month in anticipation of this movie, I rented the original starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. That movie rocked. It was a great western that no one has heard of in this day and age. Glenn Ford owned the role of Ben Wade, the outlaw. So, this made me hesitant to see the remake. I made a deal with my father that I would wait to see this movie until we could see it together. All I can say is, it was well worth the wait. When is the DVD coming? This is the first movie since Zodiac that I think is worthy of any nominations. This could be the rebirth of westerns in this generation.
The movie opens with Dan Evans, an under-appreciated Christian Bale, watching his barn burn down. We see him struggle with his leg, and realize how poor he is. We then see him the morning after head into town with his boys to try and barter with the powers that be to give him more time to come up with the money he owes on his land. On the way, they witness Ben Wade and his gang robbing an armored wagon with the payroll for the local town. This is our first glimpse of Ben and his crazed number two, Charlie Prince. Ben Foster embodies evil and crazy in a role that could land X-Men: The Last Stand’s Angel an Oscar nomination. Byron McElroy, played by Peter Fonda, escapes the massacre of the wagon and lives to join the party set out to deliver Ben Wade to the authorities.
At this point, Ben Wade and his gang make their way into the local town and tell the sheriff that the wagon was hit. This allows them time to relax. Finally, they return and take Ben Wade into custody. This is where the movie really starts to roll. From here, they make a plan to take him to catch the 3:10 to Yuma for sentencing. They set up fake groups going in different directions to confuse Wade’s gang.
For the remainder of the movie, we see Wade’s intellect as he tries to get under the skin of his captors. We see Wade and Evans forge a mutual friendship. There is spectacular scenery and old western clichés. Luke Wilson makes a short cameo. Gretchen Mol and Alan Tudyk have supporting roles as Evan wife and the local doctor respectively.
When the climactic finale arrives, it is nothing short of amazing. The original and the remake have the same story, the same destination, but get there in completely different ways. Both films are spectacular and worth the watch. Verdict: This is a must see for any western lover. I haven’t been this impressed with a western since Open Range and doubt I will for at least the same length of time. The original makes my top 10 westerns of all time, but the remake makes the top 5. This movie is worth the money, DVD purchase and any Oscar hype it can build up.