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If Hollywood is going to make Westerns like 3:10 to Yuma then Hollywood is going to have to make more Westerns. It’s both a thought-provoking morality play and a shoot-em-up good time, though sometimes I think it tortures its logic. The plot is taut, the action thrilling, and the performances terrific.

Christian Bale is Dan Evans, a Civil War vet who volunteers to help escort a prisoner to the prison train, though he doesn’t entirely know why. Russell Crowe is Ben Wade, a cold-blooded killer who connects with Evans, though we don’t entirely know why. The two forge a curious bond, even as Evans tries to send Wade to the gallows and Wade kills the other members of Evans’ posse.

(More after the jump. We usually bury spoilers after the jump, but I warn you that the rest of this post goes into deep detail about the plot, especially the ending.)

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