truth be told, i am one of .67 females on Earth who does not find russell crowe attractive. so before you get out your soapbox to rave about a beautiful mind, let me just say this:i really liked this movie.after seeing it, i got on a mini-western kick, which i hadn’t really been on since high school, when i discovered my passionate love for sergio leone and this sexy masterpiece. i watched the good, the bad, and the ugly and discovered that my neighbor was actually really, really ridiculously good looking at one time (i denied it due to a rather cynical viewing of the streep/eastwood blubberfest, bridges over madison county).
westerns seemed to be on the outs; what used to be john ford and monument valley is now any random guy with a degree in computer science. the western plains have been replaced by the space frontier (will smith summer blockbuster, anyone?). but 3:10 does a pretty admirable job of bringing the boys back to town. it is my personal belief that every truly good leading male actor has a gangster or a cowboy under his belt, just waiting to be set free on the big screen, and russell crowe is one of those beloved (yes, i said it) down-under actors who can unflinchingly mask his accent (and here is where i bid a devastated, respectful farewell to heath ledger, who i will honor in a future post). i really wanted to be unimpressed with crowe, too. i paid extra-special attention to christian bale, and to the other actors, but it was really crowe-magnon who stole the show. he was subtle, but very effective as a bad guy, a relatively versatile position for him.
not everyone can handle westerns. some people think the showdown is cheesy, some can’t stand the infinite empty landscape, some fall asleep because they’re usually pretty long. i say this: try out the modern version, and see if you can predict where the story goes. it’s half the fun.