The film, 3:10 to Yuma, is an exceptional work of art of the 1950s, entertaining and engaging in equal measure. The film’s exceptional camera angles and shots reveal an excellent screenplay of the time, maintaining audience concentration and enhancing the audience experience. I still find it rather amazing what they were able to pull off during that time, especially given my love for the more modern-day version of this film. For anyone looking for a good movie experience from the films made in the 1950s, then 3:10 to Yuma is a great choice I don’t think it is as good as The Unforgiven but still solid. What is the experience of watching this masterpiece from the 20th century, you may ask? Well. I jot down some of my most outstanding experiences going forward.
The film 3:10 to Yuma is particularly intellectually engaging as it is entertaining. I found the conversations between Dan and Wade particularly interesting and intriguing in an almost equal measure. The mind games that Wade put Dan through and the sheer determination in Dan with his job make their conversations and, indeed, the storyline of the movie quite unpredictable. You would think that Dan, given the risk involved in holding Wade, would give up the job has been a victim of the civil war, a war that left him physically challenged. These experiences would ideally deprive him of any confidence to engage in any future military endeavor that puts his life at risk. Interestingly, he despises this voice of caveat, trusting his instincts and indeed looking to gain financial stability and fend for his family by putting his life on the razor’s edge. As a financially insecure man, he takes risks that, from a logical viewpoint, would jeopardize his life more than mend it. When Wade realizes his vulnerability and tries to persuade him to no avail, it reveals the extent of his sanity in desperation. How an individual, troubled by the atrocities of life like Dan, can maintain a sane personality in the tempting world of desperation is mind-blowing.
The film is awash with emotional episodes. Dan’s story is in itself a sad tale of a hero who fought for his country and got nothing but harm in return. As a civil war veteran, it is shameful, I think, that he has to struggle to fend for his family. To fight in a war and not get honored for it, is to me, such an ingrate act. I felt bitter for him, for the others who have gone through the same, and for our sons and daughters who will fall victim to this. It is a rather telling parallel to the state of our veterans in modern times as well. Apart from Dan’s heart-wrenching story, the cruel act of the stagecoach driver’s killing also irks the feelings of fury and anger. It is unfathomable how casual we take life to be; to an extent, we can cut it short at will. The urgency with which the sheriff treats this matter is also telling of the moral grey area we allow ourselves. While he should ‘seduce’ the outlaws with his cuffs, the ‘good sheriff’ is out trying his luck with the pretty barmaid. Talk about misplaced priorities.
I will be lying if I say that the film has had zero spiritual impact, or worse still, has raised no such feeling. As an individual, I have gained a keen interest in the question of life and death. We all have those ages we become aware of life, from without life itself. We view it from a distance like it is not a part of us. It is during these times that life becomes a transcendent concept that drives out the childhood fear of death and raises curiosity out of it. Every time I watch a murder scene, this curiosity intensifies. More so in movies like this rather than slashers. In those kinds of movies, I expect blood and gore without much reasoning behind it, but in a movie like this, there are reasons why people kill. And they’re not necessarily all justifiable reasons either.