3:10 To Yuma (2007)
Director James Mangold is one of a handful of filmmakers turning to the western these days. At the height of the genre, it often used its form to portray allegories. With the prospect of a western renaissance coming, the timing isn't very surprising in the current uncertain situation in the world and in the US in particular. 3:10 to Yuma, is ostensibly a classical western, both in narrative structure, thematic line and final showdown. It is escapism with a ting of serious soul-searching on all parties. In that respect, Mangold is further from Sergio Leone than from the early John Ford, as he deals respectfully and unflashily with the human aspects of his film, without becoming overly analytical, but also without trying to hide the obvious dualism he is presenting. The two lead opposites both have an unquestionable strength, in many ways they are far stronger than the society they are a part of. Dan Evans is willing to die for what he believes in; Ben Wade is willing to die for what he doesn't believe in. Mangold utilizes the positives and negatives of the western genre to create a good character drama - with a little bit of legend in it as well, if you're willing to accept the premises.