Thursday, 18 June 2015

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2007: Ben Foster in 3:10 to Yuma

Ben Foster did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma.

3:10 to Yuma is a fairly entertaining enough western about a downtrodden rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) being tasked to bring an infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to a train destined for a prison.

One of the major expansions upon the original 1957 film, which starred Van Heflin and Glenn Ford as the rancher and the outlaw respectively, is found in the character of Charlie Prince. Prince is in the earlier film as played by Richard Jaeckel, but his role is fairly simple. He's still Wade's right hand man apparently, but that film has few scenes from the gang's perspective. That's not the case here in the remake where it is obvious from the first scene that Charlie is going to have a substantial presence in the film.  I suppose it helps things that he's played by the criminally underrated Ben Foster who plays the part with a considerable degree of grandeur. The fact that Charlie wants to stand out is a given, after all what other sort of outlaw would don a coat like his? Foster plays into this brilliantly though as he carries Charlie as the sort of guy who pretty much wants to build up his own image as much as he possibly can. The way he stands the way he struts around are all of a man who wants to be larger than life, and possibly worthy to stand next to the already larger than life Ben Wade. Ben Foster is marvelous as he portrays Charlie as a basically a legend in the making, but of his own making.

Foster is almost deliciously pompous in the role as he shows that Charlie is well aware of his superior abilities with firearms, and does not mind showing off. Whenever Charlie does one of his tricky shots or puts away his guns in a stylized fashion Foster always presents Charlie as absolutely relishing every moment of it. Foster suggests that Charlie is not even in the outlaw life for the money, but rather simply in it for the outlaw life. Foster carries Charlie as a perpetual showoff who loves what it is that he can do. Although for the most part Charlie is able to live up to the name he is building up for himself, that's not to say there is not a certain desperation about the whole display. In his first scene scene where Charlie confronts a man who he is neither scared or impressed by Charlie, Foster is rather effective in portraying Charlie's with perhaps just a bit of vulnerability as he tries to play it off by simply shooting the man. Now playing a role in such a way is a great risk as it certainly can misfire, or make Charlie seem to much at any time. Foster never allows that firstly by giving sense to the Charlie's whole manner, but also because he does not forget that being an outlaw involves more than simply being just a big name.

Although Foster makes Charlie a bit much so to speak, but he never makes him a joke. Even though Charlie prances around with his own personal style in the end Charlie technically speaking is someone who likes to murder people in style. Well this sound more than a little deranged and Foster portrays it as such. Foster creates a considerable menace with his presence as there is such an unpredictability about the personality he fashions for Charlie. One constant of sorts though is that Foster brings a striking intensity to Charlie which creates the sense that Charlie is quite clearly a psychopath. Foster never leaves this even as something one note, and it would have been easy enough to do so. Foster shows the glee in Charlie as he dispatches any opponent who offers little resistance, but also means very little to him. That's not quite the case though when the person actually poses any threat to him or poses a threat to his quest to retrieve Ben Wade from his captors. In this moments Foster is quite chilling in revealing an even darker viciousness in Charlie fitting for a man who will watch a man burn alive simply because he delayed him from rescuing Wade. 

Of course what is it with Charlie and Ben Wade anyways. Charlie goes quite out of his way to rescue his old boss, who got captured due to his own mistake, and even admonishes the rest of the gang when they dare to suggest that they don't risk their lives for Wade. Well Foster is absolutely convincing in creating this undying loyalty Charlie has for Wade, although in perhaps a bit of an atypical sort of way. Foster takes the approach that Charlie seems to be a bit in love with Wade. Now what's so special about the way Foster does this though is he does not make it overt to the point that Charlie is like Mr. Smithers from the Simpson. Foster portrays this very effectively by suggesting that Charlie himself is probably not quite aware about just how much he loves Wade, but nevertheless he can't quite help it. Foster manages to even to give all the more sense his grandstanding as Charlie trying to earn his place Wade. Foster does not show this behavior as a way for Charlie to usurp Wade like some sort of upstart but rather Charlie's attempt to be truly worthy to stand next to the man. Foster makes the extent that Charlie goes to save Wade believable through so well realizing that particularly strong affection he has for the man. Foster creates such a captivating character here, but it should also be said that he's also simply extremely entertaining in the role. He's fun to witness every second he's on screen, as he delivers every one of his one liners with flawless timing. Well very much fitting to the gunslinger he plays Foster hits his mark every time, never letting an opportunity to make an impact pass by. I particularly love his reaction when dealing with makeshift posse who dare to think that they can stand in his way. Foster never allows these moments to compromise the more dramatic or sinister elements of the character, making all of the elements of his performance come together without fault. It's an exceptional piece work by Ben Foster as he manages to create both the most compelling character of the film as well as the most enjoyable one to watch.


luke higham said...

Come On Timothy!.

luke higham said...

Louis: Ratings & Thoughts on The Rest Of The Cast.

luke higham said...

It's between Lynch and Foster for the overall.

Robert MacFarlane said...


Matt Mustin said...

Fantastic work by Foster, as per usual.

Michael McCarthy said...

I gotta watch this again.

Psifonian said...

"You boys some kinda.... posse?"
"... I hate posses."

Brilliant work.

Anonymous said...

Louis what are your top ten films of 1960, 1979, 1984 and 1946?

Anonymous said...

What are your ratings and thoughts on Judy Davis in Barton Fink?

Michael Patison said...

Whoever started the favorite films thing:
Here's my top 10 favorite films. It was incredibly difficult for me, as I'm sure it was for everyone else. That's why my top 10 has 11 films and why I'm also going to list 9 honorable mentions.
1. Cinema Paradiso
2. All About Eve
3. All the President's Men
4. Children of Men
5. Anatomy of a Murder
6. Network
7. L.A. Confidential
8. In Bruges
9. Howards End
10. Broadcast News
11. Road to Perdition

Honorable Mentions (alphabetically):
The Awful Truth
Breaker Morant
Dog Day Afternoon
A Fish Called Wanda
The Maltese Falcon
The Shawshank Redemption

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

My top ten films ever:

1) The Godfather
2) Casablanca
3) Raging Bull
4) Vertigo
5) Goodfellas
6) Lawrence Of Arabia
7) Gone with the Wind
8) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
9) Network
10) Pulp Fiction

JackiBoyz said...

RatedRStar and anyone else if possible: I was really impressed with the Hk lineup for 2000, what are your thoughts on all five of the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominees, like who would you have voted for?

Francis Ng - Juliet in Love
Tony Leung Ka Fai - Jiang Hu: The Triad Zone
Chow Yun Fat - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Tony Leung Chiu Wai - In the Mood for Love
Andy Lau - A Fighters Blues

Francis Ng - 2000 Ad
Chang Chen - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Eason Chan - Lavender
Simon Yam - Juliet in Love
Roy Cheung - Jiang Hu: The Triad Zone

Calvin Law said...

JackiBoyz: I've seen a few of them :
Chow Yun Fat: 4
Leung Chiu Wai: 4
Leung Ka Fai: 4.5

Ng in 2000 AD: 4.5 (impressive playing against type)
Chang Chen: 3.5
Cheung: 4.5

RatedRStar said...

Calvin Law: Your only missing Ng and Lau in the lead and you will found all of the good ones lol.
2000 is one of the best HK years I would say, especially the lead category.

In order of rankings
Andy Lau: 4
Chow Yun Fat: 4
Francis Ng: 4
Tony Leung Chiu Wai: 4
Tony Leung Ka Fai: 4.5

Eason Chan: 1.5
Simon Yam: 2.5
Chang Chen: 3.5
Francis Ng: 4.5
Roy Cheung: 4.5

RatedRStar said...

The 2015 best actor Hong kong nominee ranking for me might surprise you =D.

RatedRStar said...

Calvin Law, JackiBoyz, and anyone else if you wish: Watch this clip, basically the best actor nominees of HK 2015 announcement, who would you say looks the best just from the clips they show (they use the most oscar baity ones lol). Skip to 1:12 for the clips.

Eddie Peng - Rise of the Legend
Lau Ching Wan - Insanity
Huang Bo - Dearest
Daniel Wu - That Demon Within
Lau Ching Wan - Overheard 3

RatedRStar said...

Anonymous said...

Daniel Wus clip is just...weird lol. I would say Lau Ching Wan for the first clip and Eddie Peng looked the best in my opinion.

JackiBoyz said...

RatedRStar: I would say Lau Ching Wan for both of his nominations looks the best although Bo and Peng look solid too, Daniel Wus might actually work but depends on the context of the scene.

luke higham said...

Mr Holmes Ratings
McKellen - 4.5/5
Linney - 4
Parker - 3.5
Morahan - 3.5
Sanada - 3

Mr Holmes was an entertaining, sometimes fairly fascinating mystery film with an excellent performance from McKellen, in what is his first major lead role in 17 years. He begins his performance as a fairly grouchy retired detective, but then grows to care for his housekeeper's son (Played well by Milo Parker) and recollects, his very last case. As the film has an non-linear structure, He's great in the flashback scenes and his breakdown scene near the end was very well earned. By the end of the film, McKellen's Holmes becomes a more endearing individual and his performance ends on a pretty high note. The film itself is a bit muddled at times, but wasn't enough to spoil my enjoyment of it.

Calvin Law said...

I am SO looking forward to seeing Mr Holmes... :)

Luke: By the way, Peck is now a 5 for me in The Omen.

Calvin Law said...

Thinking about that final scene just compels me to.

luke higham said...

Calvin: That's great, My personal favourite moments of his performance are his reactions to the deaths of David Warner and Lee Remick's characters and the realization that Damien is in fact the antichrist.

luke higham said...

Calvin: I can't wait for Louis to finally see The Omen, especially for Whitelaw's performance.

luke higham said...

1. Alien
2. Apocalypse Now
3. Nosferatu the Vampyre
4. The Warriors
5. Escape From Alcatraz
6. Life of Brian
7. Breaking Away
8. Rocky II
9. Wise Blood
10. The In-Laws

1.It's A Wonderful Life
2.The Best Years of Our Lives
3.A Matter of Life and Death
4.Beauty and the Beast
6.The Big Sleep
7.Angel on My Shoulder
8.The Killers
9.The Stranger

John Smith said...

Here we go:

1. Five Easy Pieces
2. The Master
3. All Things Fair
4. Scenes From A Marriage
5. The Conversation
6. Lawrence Of Arabia
7. All That Jazz
8. Salam Bombay
9. Sideways
10.Blue Valentine
11.The Piano Teacher

Robert MacFarlane said...

Screw it, I'm doing it in alphabetical order.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Big Lebowski
A Christmas Story
The Dark Knight
Ed Wood
Fight Club
The Godfather Part II
L.A. Confidential
The Tree of Life

Honorable mentions to Blue Velvet, Wings of Desire, The Seventh Seal, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, Memento, The Proposition, Beauty and the Beast, and Animal House.

GM said...

Louis: It took a long time, but my winning request (72) is Max Von Sydow in Hamsun - 1996 lead.

luke higham said...

Louis: Can you clarify for me, what Robert Preston's rating is for The Last Starfighter, since he's a 3.5 on the review, yet he's a 4 on the '84 ranking.

Louis Morgan said...


Crowe - 4.5(In this remake both actors actually take a very similair approach in playing the characters. Like Glenn Ford's rendition Crowe plays Wade basically like a showman much of the time, as he takes so much joy in playing up his image as an outlaw for the ages, as well as showing his superiority to everyone around. Crowe is quite entertaining and does this well. I prefer his performance though as I feel he brings more of a darker edge to Wade combining a certain charm, but always shows that it hides the viciousness of the man. Although I think the film does overplay its hand in terms of just how much Ben helps Dan, Crowe still effectively conveys Wade's growing respect for his captor)

Bale - 4(Van Heflin was already pretty downtrodden and had the odds against him. They decided to make this to the most extreme in this version by not even letting the man have two legs of his own. Again I think the film might have taken this a touch too far. I do like Bale's performance though, although I think I preferred Heflin's overall, as he brings the needed haggard qualities to the man while conveying the unshakable determination in him as well. He's great with Crowe, although I would say less so with Lerman....but I'll get to that a little later)

Fonda - 3.5(I would not have minded if his character had stuck around a bit longer as I felt he added a nice bit of color with his presence. He's quite engaging in the scenes he's in as you really feel the history of this aged Pinkerton who's already crossed paths with Wade more than a few times)

Robert - 2.5(He's fine with what he has, it's just not much)

Tudyk - 3(Like Roberts, but in addition he is quite in his final scene)

Lerman - 2(This performance really did not work for me. Firstly it felt like he was playing dress up, which is all wrong since the film acted like he was better prepared for the life than his father was. He unfortunately comes off as more of a dumb kid who should respect his father more, he does not bring the right hardness to pull off the character. For example if the film was made a few years later imagine Tye Sheridan in the same role)

Preston should be a four for that.


1. Psycho
2. The Apartment
3. The Bad Sleep Well
4. The Entertainer
5. Spartacus
6. The Magnificent Seven
7. Elmer Gantry
8. The Time Machine
9. La Dolce Vita
10. The Virgin Spring


1. Amadeus
2. Paris, Texas
3. The Killing Fields
4. Ghostbusters
5. Once Upon a Time in America
6. Secret Honor
7. This Is Spinal Tap
8. 1984
9. Gremlins
10. The Karate Kid