Spoiler alert: I will be discussing 3:10 to Yuma (2007) with bad-guy bank robber Ben Wad (Russell Crowe) and struggling rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale). I really enjoyed the movie and plan to watch the 1957 film soon to compare them but I thought I’d write these impressions while they are fresh in my head.
Who was your favorite character in the film? I was very disappointed when the film started. During the first half an hour I thought for sure it was going to be another cheesy film to make the bad guy the star: John Dillinger in “Public Enemies” (Johnny Depp), Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone and others.
Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) was the leader of a criminal gang but:
- Ben was good lucking
- Ben had an artistic side
- Ben had a romantic, woman-charming side
- Ben was smart — Ben knew his Bible
- AND Ben turns himself in and gets the rancher’s family the money they need.
So everyone was suppose to fall in love with Russell Crowe (Ben). Ben seemed to have redeemed himself in part by killing all the truly bad guys but his redemption was bought by the cowboy savior — Dan who is the true hero of the story.
- Dan, like Jesus, was totally human with all his doubts and weaknesses.
- Dan, nonetheless, even when tempted stuck to deep principles
- When Dan could easily have walked away with his life and with money to save his family, he choose to do what is right.
- Sure, he wanted his son to be proud of him, but it was still the same Dan who wanted to do right. And Dan was willing to give up his life so his sons could keep a true memory and a real example while all along doing what was right.
This was a very Christian movie in all the good senses of that word. I would have been happier if Dan had not died. He could have just been wounded, and Ben turned himself in anyway. The death was not necessary. But for some, maybe death of what is truly good is what it takes to open their eyes.
Ben formed a relationship with Dan who he originally looked down on. He began to see both Dan’s human frailties and his immense strength of character — something Dan’s son finally saw (albeit too late). It is this relationship that saved Ben — a very human, caring and principled relationship.
Question for Non-Christians: Does it feel awkward to compliment important Christian themes like love, forgiveness and redemption which are presented in such a clear analogy? How do you keep the baby when throwing out the wash? (see first comments – I agree)
Questions for Christians: What do you think about Non-Christians who value all these virtues but feel no need to pay attention to Christianity?