Hostiles (2017) – Review

When the American war hero, Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) is instructed to escort an ageing Cheyenne chief and his family to his ancestral home in Montana’s Valley of the Bears, things quickly become strained when a widow, Rosalee Quaid (Rosamund Pike), attaches herself to the group after her family are savagely attacked by a destructive group of prowling Comanches who are still causing chaos. Another terrific modern-day western that managed to boast an effective and diverse cast.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Scott Cooper
Writers: Scott Cooper, Donald E. Stewart
Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Jesse Plemons

Hostiles is a movie that I’ve seen polarised in terms of popularity over the years, but after finally giving it a shot, what transpired was a dark, gritty and at times cruel journey of what seemed to be an endless cycle of anger and hatred. Straight away, you’re greeted with one of the most sudden and shocking opening scenes of recent times – the sheer brutality of what unfolded was difficult to watch and comprehend, and as a viewer, you was left slightly disturbed, but also with questions that would need answering later in the film.

In terms of the story, the filmmakers did their best to keep it as simple and straight forward as possible, and I believe they succeed with that. There were, however, a few surprise elements thrown in there too, along with one or two different, yet interesting, sub-plots, one being the emerging romance between the two main characters. With that being said, I can certainly understand some people’s frustration and annoyance by the fact that this flick was slow in nature – many scenes seemed to drag on for a little longer than they should have in hindsight.

As with the majority of westerns, one of the primary strengths worth noting would have to be the cinematography. Large parts of the flick were captivating and beautiful to watch, with large portions of the film being shot in places such as New Mexico and Arizona.

Another thing the filmmakers deserve credit for is the way in which they built and emphasised the hatred between the Americans and the Comanches. At times, you were forgiven for not quite understanding who the “hostiles” were, with dark and unforgiving behaviour taking place from all angles. It’s also worth noting the filmmakers certainly weren’t afraid of killing off characters either, something that worked in the favour of this flick.

In terms of casting, Christian Bale led the movie and gave an intense performance as Joseph Blocker, while Rosamund Pike was equally as impressive in her part as Rosalee Quaid. The pair were outstanding, but in films of this nature, there’s also a vast array of support. The support came from the likes of Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, and Jonathan Majors, while not forgetting Wes Studi, who adopted the role of the Chief Yellow Hawk.

Overall, Hostiles was a harrowing film full of pain, sorrow, hatred and even forgiveness, and with a runtime of one-hundred and thirty-four minutes, this 2017 release is definitely worthy of a watch. It’s also worth noting that Hostiles is now streaming on Netflix.

“If I did not have faith, what would I have?”

Rosalee Quaid – Hostiles

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