Saturday, 14 March 2009

3.10 TO YUMA (2007)

Recently, after viewing his film IDENTITY, I consigned James Mangold to a box labelled "Interesting". Presented with potentially terrific material like COPLAND or WALK THE LINE, this director seems to deliver disappointingly routine movies fuelled by a few good performances (given the undeniably talented actors he has worked with this is hardly surprising). His remake of Delmer Daves classic 1957 3.10 TO YUMA is another case of seemingly director proof material but this time the result isn't just routine it is downright bloody awful. The script for the original was stripped down to the essential and Daves was a good enough director to trust the dramatic thrust of his material without the needless totally unnecessary embellishments that sink the new version. Everything that the original signalled by shorthand is laboured here over and over and then underlined to make sure we didn't miss the point. The big climax of the movie defies description and must win a prize for one of the most OTT put on film with the character played by Russell Crowe acting so illologically that it beggars belief. The final scene seems to be trying to make some rather obvious point about redemption but then totally scuppers the meaning with a joke involving the character's horse. Christian Bale's character is such a pain in the arse that I kept hoping somebody would shoot him (unfortunately this happened far too late to lift my rapidly sinking spirits) and Russell Crowe (an actor I quite like) turns in the worst performance I've seen him give. Of the supporting cast only Peter Fonda seems to make anything of his role - an embittered Pinkerton Detective. If you decide to see it then try to see the original as well...Delmar Daves, Glenn Ford and Van Heflin win hands down. Rating *

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

Boy, I'm sure glad I missed that one. I'm a fan of the original film and, since SO much time has gone by since the remake has been out and I managed to STILL not see it, I guess you can guess that it wasn't a top priority for future viewing. Thanks for saving me the pain!