Thursday 27 September 2007

3.10 to yuma - spoilers

Went to see this last night. I did my usual thing of not recognising people. Didn't recognise Peter Fonda - almost forgivable. Didn't recognise Ben Foster, which is really unforgivable as he is the best thing in the movie. My excuse is he's grown up since I last saw him.

As for the movie, spoilers begin here.

I can comfortably say that it's the most confusing movie I've ever seen. I was musing with my daughter on the way there about why people make westerns nowadays. Unless you have a new interpretation or one that chimes in with the times, the genre is quarried smooth. Well, 3.10 to Yuma is different, that's for sure. The bad guy might not be so bad, but spends a lot of time trying to convince us he's really really bad. That doesn't work so well because Russell Crowe clearly isn't convinced that he's really really bad. Then there are good guys who are semi bad guys, then other bad guys who sort of become good guys and then others are on the side of the good guys and other good guys are on the side of the bad guys. Then the bad guy helps the good guy get him to the train he's going to prison on. Then the bad guy's gang shoot the good guy, then the bad guy shoots the bad guy's gang, and then does he get away or doesn't he. That last bit, the non/getaway is a cop out I reckon, just a bad piece of film making, unless they were leaving the door open for "3.10 to Yuma 2".

I decided in the end that it's either a completely revisionist western in which they haven't blurred the lines between good and evil so much as completely rubbed them out, or, more likely, it's a metaphor for Iraq. It works very well on that level. In Iraq the US is in a complete mess, has no idea who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, and ,ast week's bad guys turn out to be this week's good guys, and the whole thing is just utter confusion. If that's what they were thinking, then it's pretty good. If it wasn't, the film's a mess.

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