Thursday, October 04, 2007

3:10 to Yuma

"He who pursues justice and kindness will find life and honor." Prov. 21:21

In the film 3:10 to Yuma, we follow the characters on a journey through the West and through their own souls.

Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is the leader of an outlaw gang, who is admired by his followers and feared by his rivals. Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is the opposite: a down-on-his-luck, un-noticed, handicapepd (one wooden leg due to an injury in the Civil War) husband and father, looked upon with distaste by his own sons.

One man (Wade) sits on the top of the world, while the other (Evans) is squeezed to the bottom.

But when Evans accidentally stumbles on Wade (and soon after is instrumental in capturing him), he finds a one-of-a-kind chance to rise above it all. The reward for getting Wade to the train (the "3:10 p.m. train to Yuma", hence the movie's title) is $200, which would surely help Evans and his poor family out of a financial mess.

Evans' actions might be motivated by money, but he soons finds he is motivated by another cause: to show his sons and his family (and the world) that doing the right thing is the real joy of this journey through the West. His character finds great wisdom, perhaps inspired by a Biblical proverb like "He who pursues justice and kindness will find life and honor" (Prov. 21:21).

Wade's charcter, too, goes on a journey in this film. Starting out as a wild outlaw, he is almost inspired and touched by Evans' conversion of heart; in the end, he finds that honoring someone who showed him great kindness is of greater value than escaping the prison train to Yuma. While the violence of Wade (even in the final scenes) is inexcusable, he does have his own conversion of heart and realigns his loyalties to those who pursue justice and kindness, rather than those who pursue self-gratification and greediness.

Whether we're motivated by craving selfless honor or by the example of another, we are all on a journey in this life. Sometimes that journey takes us all over the wilderness, through unchartered territory, and alongside less-than-admirable companions (as it literally did for both Wade and Evans in 3:10 to Yuma).

But will we make our final train? Will we turn back in fear of where the train leads or will we have the courage to potentially sacrifice ourselves for a greater purpose?

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