13:10 TO YUMA
Wily outlaw Glenn Ford is held captive by beleaguered Arizona rancher Van Heflin – praying for rain and money – until he can be put on the train out of Contention. Or until Ford’s gang turns up to rescue him. Beautifully gauged, well contrasted performances in a tense western two-step. There’s a melancholy air to the starkly framed High Noon-ish set-up, underscored by constant refrains from the haunting Frankie Laine ballad that opens the film, the first to be made from an Elmore Leonard story. He much preferred it to the 2007 remake: “It doesn’t make sense, does it?” Who are we to argue.
23:10 TO YUMA
Christian Bale is the hard-luck cattle rancher hired to escort notorious outlaw Russell Crowe to the train station in the bloated 50th anniversary remake. Buffed up from the modest original, it tells the same story, just longer and much louder – it piles on the action like a video game version of Deadwood with added Apache. Everything’s tweaked up. Bale carries a limp, Crowe carries a sketch pad. And one of the rancher’s boys is now a troublesome teenager. Even a horse explodes (I’m not kidding). On its way to a head-scratching finale, it increasingly resembles Mackenna’s Gold by way of Blazing Saddles, dished up spaghetti style.