Review – 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Dave Corkery

Westerns are a funny thing. At one time in cinema history, they were a dime a dozen and were the staple of childhood heroic fantasies. You can be pretty sure that when you’re dad was a young whipper-snapper, he was swaggering his shoulders around the house and tilting his high-brimmed hat politely to imaginary ‘dames’ or drinking a bottle of cheap whiskey (milk) and challenging strangers to ‘pistols at dawn.’ Cowboys were the mindless escapist action-films of days gone by. But when the hard-hitting, gritty cops of 70s films suddenly made audiences think that ‘now’ is more happenin’ than ‘an arse-load of years ago’, the Western suffered a sudden and unfortunate demise.

After Eastwood’s Unforgiven saw a resurgence in the genre, contemporary Westerns have had to up their game to shine through and be seen; gone were ‘pistols at dawn’ in favour of gritty character realism and ‘harsh times’ seen through weary eyes.

What’s good about 3:10 to Yuma is that it finds a nice balance of both. It doesn’t shy from the good guy/bad guy shoot ‘em up cheesy movie goodness of the classic Western (it’s actually a remake of a 1957 film of the same name), but also delivers full, interesting characters lead by strong acting turns.

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