User Reviews (33)

  • G G Gwalles22 December 2017
    4/10
    Brutal, languid and dark
    Warning: Spoilers
    Christian Bale's character is the Army captain who hates Native Americans. He's the one who is put in charge of escorting a Cheyenne chief, played by West Study to their reservation in Montana. Well I bet you already know how is going to end, don't you? Beautiful landscapes when we can see them. The night scenes are irritatingly dark and they are many. The plight of Rosamund Pike's character - who loses her entire family in a harrowing opening scene - kept me going. She is strong and powerful but Christian Bale gives a performance that is just that, a performance. I like him as an actor when he's good. Brilliant in The Fighter, terrific in American Psycho but embarrassing in Exodus: Gods And King as Moses. Here I needed to believe in those flashes of empathy he seems to insinuate but I didn't. I was too aware of him, the actor. I don't know if I can I explain it but if you look at him walk away at the end of the movie, you'll know exactly what I mean. As far as I'm concerned not an ounce of real emotion. Naturally, I would recommend for you to check it out yourself, I'm often quite alone in my opinions.
  • Raven-196930 September 2017
    6/10
    Hostiles Come From Anywhere
    Deep and long simmering hatred is stirred up when Captain Blocker, an experienced and capable yet bitter western war veteran, is ordered to lead the transfer of a small band of Cheyenne from New Mexico to Montana. Blocker is enraged because the band includes Yellow Hawk, the killer of his friends. Forced to go, Blocker puts Yellow Hawk in chains for the long ride. The unlikely travel companions meet up with a grief-stricken woman in the burnt remains of her home. She cradles a dead baby in her arms and hovers on the brink of insanity. Worse, the unstable and dangerous men who massacred the woman's family are now on their trail. Sympathy for the woman as well as the desire for self-preservation begins to unite the Cheyenne and the soldiers.

    There are wonderful film themes to digest including the understanding that hostility can come from anywhere or anyone. We are all potential hostiles. It is a sight for sore eyes to watch the characters travel through beautiful prairies and wildlands. Actors including Chistian Bale, Wes Studi and Rosamund Pike, perform impressively. While the actor chemistry is a bit off and much time is wasted in useless blubbering, there is an uncommon, important and intriguing American history lesson here. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.
  • elliot-360-93680722 October 2017
    9/10
    Hostiles review
    Post civil war frontier America and Christian Bale aka Captain Joseph Blockeris is ordered by the Army to escort a Cheyenne Chief, who has been granted safe passage back to his homeland in Montana, by the President of the United States, due to his terminal illness. Along the way the party encounter wild and dangerous Comanche "Indians". The movie is intense and I surmise Bale will be nominated for an Academy Award for this turn. Wes Studi, as always, as the ailing Chief, is marvelous, understated and ever so powerful. Rosamund Pike is superb as a deranged widow who is collected up by Bale's party. Her presence in the story seems like a distraction from the original mission or orders, but it's a movie and we have to have some man/woman tension and whatever then derives from that, of course. The movie sometimes slows down a bit, and lingers, but it always recovers, and overall - see this movie. And the music score is perfect.
  • Jon Ochiai3 January 2018
    10/10
    Let hate die
    "Hostiles" is sublime. Hatred dies in mortality and forgiveness in Writer and Director Scott Cooper's "Hostiles". Christian Bale is powerful in his humanity. Rosamund Pike is poignant resilience and loss. Cooper's images and narrative will move and touch your soul.

    Rosamund Pike as young mother Mrs. Quaid cries in anguish as she digs with her bare hands the graves for her three children murdered by Apache Indians. While silent compassionate Christian Bale as Captain Joe Blocker watches with his men ready to aid the distraught widow. Mrs. Quaid is a woman of God, of faith. Without her faith what does she have? The scene broke my heart in tears. Bad things can occur under God's watch. Writers Cooper and Donald E. Steward don't shy away for the world's seeming unkindness and unfairness.

    Cooper balances the ugliness and the beauty of courage and redemption in "Hostiles". Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi elegantly captures the lightness and darkness. Darkness is in Blocker's merciless vengeance upon those who harmed the people he cares for on the stormy night. Lightness radiates as his party emerges on horseback riding through the sunlit forest. Poetry is in the balance.

    As the singular Western, "Hostiles" is one of best ever, even compared to Clint Eastwood's iconic "Unforgiven". I think more so. Whereas, "Unforgiven" surrenders to the hollow emptiness, "Hostiles" asks to release hatred. Bale's Blocker is a killer of Indians, a racist, and prejudiced. What if all prejudice can be justified? Blocker realizes that his mortal enemy Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk, played by noble Wes Studi, would have slaughtered as he did, all for the sake of being right. You can take being right to the grave. In the end, being right makes absolutely no difference. That is the eloquence of "Hostiles". "Hostiles" invites to think from your soul.

    Sitting on the grassy plains Mrs. Quaid asks, "You believe in the Lord, Joseph?" Blocker replies, "Yes. I do. But he's been blind to what 's been going on here for a long time." "Hostiles" inspires having faith knowing that the world is gray and cruel at times.

    Set in New Mexico in 1892 retiring US Calvary Captain Joe Blocker, played by Bale, is commanded by his Colonel to escort Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk, played by Studi, and his family to his homeland in Montana. Yellow Hawk is now an old man dying of cancer. Blocker is transparent, "I hate him. I hate his kind."

    Blocker's unique gift is killing tribal Indian warriors. He's taken more scalps than Sitting Bull. In their younger days Yellow Hawk and his men heinously murdered Blocker's dearest soldier friends. In kind Blocker brutally killed the Cheyenne. Each believing that he was in the right. For unmarried Joseph doing "his job" is his only purpose. Mortal enemies Blocker and the Chief define each other. Their telling exchanges in Cheyenne have the gravitas of honor and mortality.

    On the journey, Blocker and his men rescue broken Mrs. Quaid, played by Pike, in the aftermath of the murder of her entire family. Blocker reveals his gentleness as he reaches out his hand, "I'm not going to hurt you." Their journey is treacherous and costly. Alliances alter and reinvent. Find courage and faith in the hopeless. Discover one's redemption and forgiveness.

    Christian Bale is at his best. He fearlessly explores what it is to be human. Whether he exacts violent revenge upon the villain or cries "You never let me down." to his dear friend Henry, played by Jonathan Majors, he surrenders to humanity in all its shades. He provides beautiful partnership with Rosamund Pike's Mrs. Quaid in her touching sadness and possibility of renewed life. Pike is vulnerable and powerful.

    Western "Hostiles" has a lot to say for us today. There will always be hatred and prejudice. They are about being right and making others wrong. What Bale's Joseph discovers when he looks for balance: Righteousness and hatred only causes suffering. Maybe we can't love everyone. Maybe one thing we can do is let go of hate. Let hate die. "Hostiles" is my favorite movie of the year.
  • tygarr131 January 2018
    A 19th Century Western with 21st Century PC.
    Warning: Spoilers
    My affinity for Westerns began over 40 years ago at a drive-in for a first-run screening of the "Wild Bunch" and my fandom for Westerns has only increased exponentially thanks to the plethora of TV and movie western programming created during the past half century,

    Due to America's changed social standards and values I expected (later rather than now) that a movie such as Hostiles was inevitable. Definitely a Western, with most of the main elements, cowboys, native Americans (historically called Indians), soldiers, settlers, etc.),

    Hostiles is a 2-hour plus (somehow seemed longer) drama of the Western genre with beautiful landscapes (during the day), a minimal amount of aggression and gunplay, and the projection of our contemporary ideals on the flawed characters:

    The female survivor of the demise of her family by marauding Indians (now called native Americans) who at first is traumatized by the sight of the indigenous people but the next day seemingly has gotten over the deaths of her husband and three children, braiding one another's hair and trading compliments (a 21st century example of tolerance, acceptance, and overcoming adversity?).

    The black (now called African-American) corporal who, after being shot, seems to be granted hospitalization in a place that he probably wouldn't have been able to enter in the 19th century (note: I personally am a black man, and I winced at this scene, but yeah for P.C. no matter how historically inaccurate).

    I could go on, but what is the point? Hostiles is a politically correct presentation of a Western, somewhat sanitized, and made to convey that we Americans were strong, noble, and steadfast even as we genocided a race, stole a continent, and freed native Americans to die in those places that we decided.
  • FallonTimberlake201630 October 2017
    9/10
    Christian Bale shines in emotional journey that has a powerful and relevant message.
    Hostiles is a period piece that stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and many others. It centers around an Army captain who hates Native Americans that is asked to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family to the reservation in Montana that they were previously from.

    The film starts off with a deeply disturbing scene where a family, including children, is massacred by Indians, which sets the tone for a very emotional, disturbing, and even sometimes uplifting journey that questions who the real hostiles are.

    The real highlight here is, of course, Christian Bale, who can convey a world of emotion with just one expression. Bale is easily Oscar- worthy and should definitely get at least a nomination. Whenever Bale controls the scene it is riveting.

    Rosamund Pike also nails it as the lone survivor of the attack described earlier. She exhibits grief better than even the most experienced of actors.

    Hostiles has a great message that is especially relevant in today's dividing times. The film is about inclusion, and shows that we are all human no matter how evil one may seem.

    However, this movie is not without its flaws. It's very slow at times, and there are entire scenes that feel like they don't need to be in the film. Luckily, whenever the film starts to slow down, within the next scene or so something happens that makes it more interesting.

    Hostiles is a heavily emotional experience that will make you think about long after it is done. Despite the heavy subject matter, it has an uplifting message, and pull some great performances from the main actors.

    I give Hostiles an A-.
  • GManfred9 January 2018
    Unhappy Campers
    Capt. Joe Blocker (Christian Bale) is ordered to escort Chief Yellow Hawk back to his home territory in Montana. The Chief is a military prisoner and is dying, and has been pardoned by the Government. Capt. Blocker is a veteran Indian fighter, and accepts his role under duress. Along the way he and his party are involved in some hardships and skirmishes and encounter Mrs. Quaid (Rosamund Pike), whose family has been massacred by renegade Indians.

    The film is a little long and a little talky in spots, but Director Scott Foster, who also wrote the screenplay, hits all the right notes in this tale of the soul-searing job of instilling justice to the frontier, which alternates between the brutal and the futile. Christian Bale, who never gives a bad performance, is the stoic Capt. Blocker, a man at the end of his moral tether. But the acting award in this picture goes to Rosamund Pike, who gives an outstanding performance as the sole survivor of her family. What human feeling she has left she tries to impart to Capt. Blocker, who is in desperate need of same.

    "The Hostiles" is worth your time and gives an unvarnished look at one of the more unattractive facets of frontier life.

    ******** 8 of 10
  • bencaandrew9 January 2018
    9/10
    Harrowing
    Forget the talk of the film being slow, this isn't an action film or an old school shoot 'em up western, anyone looking for that should search elsewhere. Whilst there some great action scenes, where hostiles excels is in setting the tone for an early American world where law and order rest of gun power. The cinematography is exceptional, meanwhile Christian Bale is superb playing a army captain who is seemingly tough and unflinching but shows an undertone of melancholy, Rosamunde Pike pulls of a great performance as a woman thrust into the ugly world of war and anarchy by a brutal attack on her family home, a scene is exceptional and unapologetically shocking. Overall the film is about the futility of trying to civilise a wild land built on violence, and about the tragedy and the sheer pointlessness of conflict against fellow man.
  • statuskuo29 December 2017
    8/10
    Like What The Title Says
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Hostiles" is a brutal ugly film in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It makes you wonder how close to animals we really are. This is "The Defiant Ones" taken to the next level. Where a mean S.O.B. has to take another mean S.O.B. to die of cancer in his home land. You'll recall many foreign lands have a policy to release terrorist to die in their native land. Outrage ensues. But that's what Christian Bale's Joe Blocker has to do with Wes Studi's Chief Yellow Hawk and his family. This trek obviously won't be for the squeamish,

    The film is a lot about PTSD. The inhumanity in war causes a deep ridge against you as a function civil human. Whatever justification to move onto life, that is what you must hold onto. Along the way, we see a woman who has suffered great tragedy, Rosalie Quaid who is witness to the frontier's harsh reality. Dogged, by what is considered criminal in life, is excusable in battle. Now it haunts Blocker at every step. Including men who saw the true man he is. Very close to "Unforgiven" and much in the tone of "Cold Mountain" this is about reconnecting with humanity. It will feel removed from some of the unnecessary deaths that occur. It just...happens. And the shock resonates more in you than the person it effects. Redemption in brutality is a long road which starts with forgiveness for crimes you were never tried for.
  • Shweta Mayekar2 January 2018
    9/10
    Christian Bale shines
    What a great start to 2018! Christian Bale delivers a quiet yet an impressive performance in this movie as a soldier who against his wishes has been ordered to safely aid in the passage of a Cheyanne Chief and his family back to their home.

    Alternating between slow moving scenes and sudden harsh violence across the screen, the movie is paced beautifully. The cinematography is captivating with the overall score not taking away from the scene at at hand.

    The movie captures the power of human emotions and interactions in a very profound and beautiful way and the last scene bumped up my rating from an 8 to a 9.
  • ahas-1506718 September 2017
    10/10
    hostiles
    Warning: Spoilers
    One of the best of the year is an interesting story, great music, wonderful acting and best poetic photography, inspiring and sad masterpiece of American West American film antiques. The gorgeous Pale deserves the best actor of the year and a strong representation of Pike deserves the best supporting actress. I'm glad I saw this movie in Last week the festival of music is still spinning in my mind of its beauty. I give this film the full mark 10/10
  • jdesando24 December 2017
    A revisionist western in the mighty tradition of Dances with Wolves.
    "Sometimes I envy the finality of death. The certainty. And I have to drive those thoughts away when I wake." Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike)

    Although Quaid's words might well be the anthem of this brutal, quiet, moving 1892 western, they harbinger the death of the Wild West and the birth of justice and equality as whites and Native Americans abandon slowly the death that brought little peace to either side. Appropriately the tone in unremittingly grave, and rightly so, for the film illustrates the wages of racism as well as any contemporary screed could try to do.

    Writer/director Scott Cooper, who knows a thing or two about the passing of time and custom with his poignant Crazy Heart, drives home the loss of the Indian's world, the cost to the US troops, and the bereft families on each side. Captain Joe Blocker (Christian Bale), a legendary anti-Native American fighter, is charged with escorting Cheyenne war chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), also a killer, and his family from New Mexico to his home in Montana, where the government determined he should be allowed to die.

    Cooper is at his best filming landscapes occasionally punctuated with John-Ford-like door framed shots and themes of abduction and reconciliation. The threats along the way are external and internal, often soldiers just as culpable as the "savages" they hunt. Joe is a man on a mission to bring justice against the Indians, but like the times he's in, it is time to change to benevolence as the end of the century approaches and a kinder world of connection and cooperation begins, slowly and surely, like the film. The appreciation for a person regardless of race, is Cooper's ultimate aim. In ways, this Western is reminiscent of the revisionist Dances with Wolves, both of whose slow pace, almost at time painful, is reflective change's pace.

    Cooper's shots are generous to the beautiful faces, from Mrs. Quaid's lovely and the stoically-contemplative Joe's to the chief's landscaped leather. The ensemble is first rate, especially the feisty Ben Foster as Sgt. Charles Wills. The landscapes? well, look at Ford's and feel his tradition.
  • Chris_Middlebrow13 January 2018
    1/10
    History and Geography Problems
    Warning: Spoilers
    The script writer is from the U.S. east coast (Virginia), and the script appears to be telling in that regard. Reviews at Indian Country Today are pleased at how the Cheyenne captives being returned to their homeland are portrayed. I concede that, but otherwise the movie plot is historically and geographically preposterous from the get-go. The writer apparently has never studied Wikipedia, much less read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown or An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. The premise of massacre of white settlers (1) by Comanches, (2) in 1892, (3) in either eastern New Mexico or a well-watered part of other New Mexico, fails. The Comanches were subdued in northwest Texas and adjacent eastern New Mexico by the late 1870s, and thereupon fled to Mexico. Moreover, preceding atrocities alluded to and productive of Captain Blocker's initial Indian hatred were mostly the other way around, which is to say a preponderance of white atrocities (Brown, Dunbar-Ortiz, Wikipedia). I didn't catch the dialogue exactly, but at one point in the movie I thought the name Billy Dixon came up as a Captain Blocker friend the Indians supposedly had killed in savage fashion. If I have that wrong, then I have that wrong. But if I have it right, the fact is that Dixon was one of the hunters who nearly exterminated the bison, who mainly fought Indians who were trying to stop such extermination, and who died ultimately in his 70s of old-age pneumonia. Then, without going through or across the Rockies from New Mexico to Montana, which thus requires traveling through eastern New Mexico, eastern Colorado, and eastern Wyoming, the cavalry and the Cheyenne they're escorting traverse a mixture of semi-arid lands with topography, or apparent Rockies foothills with trees. They somehow don't cross many major roads or trails, somehow don't encounter many other people or signs of white civilization, and somehow miss or mostly miss Colorado Springs (where "America the Beautiful" was composed in 1893), Denver, Cheyenne, and Laramie. At best, this puts them farther east on a route through the mostly treeless and mostly flat far western Great Plains, except that's not scenery that's in their journey or the movie. Parts of the movie that weren't filmed in the New Mexico or Colorado Rockies, or vicinity, were filmed in Arizona which is not on the way to Montana.
  • David Ferguson3 January 2018
    7/10
    Slow burn western with a message
    Greetings again from the darkness. When a filmmaker is influenced by one of the all-time classics, that filmmaker best deliver a movie that not only stands up to inevitable comparisons, but also one that has its own identity, playing as more than a copy. Writer/director Scott Cooper (from a manuscript by the late Oscar winner Donald E Stewart) succeeds on both counts even as he tips his Stetson to John Ford's western classic THE SEARCHERS.

    If you are familiar with Mr. Cooper's CRAZY HEART and OUT OF THE FURNACE, then you know his style is never hurried, and to expect minimal dialogue. You might think of him as the anti-Aaron Sorkin. Cooper's characters tend to only say what must be said, and prefer to communicate through subtle gestures and actions that define their character. In this latest, he re-teams with Oscar winner Christian Bale, who plays the quietly simmering Captain Blocker. It's 1892, and the legendary Army officer/soldier/guide is ordered to escort a Cheyenne Chief and his family through dangerous and unchartered New Mexico territory, so that the Chief may die in peace in his native Valley of the Bears, Montana. During a career of brutal warfare against the Native Americans, Captain Blocker has developed a deep-seeded hatred, and only accepts the assignment after his pension is threatened.

    The opening sequence immediately immerses us in the constant danger faced during this era. Rosamund Pike watches as her homesteading family is brutally slaughtered by Comanche warriors. She survives only by escaping into the woods, although it's a bit of stretch to believe that this homemaker marm could outwit the Comanches. Circumstances find Ms. Pike's traumatized character (the actress's go-to wide-eyed look) joining and complicating Captain Blocker's convoy.

    Wes Studi plays Chief Yellow Hawk, and the film's only weakness is in his not having a more substantive role, as we are teased a couple of times with nuanced exchanges between he and Bales' Blocker. The stellar supporting cast includes Rory Cochrane, Jonathan Majors, John Benjamin Hickey, Stephen Lang, Bill Camp, Jesse Plemons, Timothy Chalamet, Adam Beach, Peter Mullan, and Scott Wilson. Ben Foster also appears as an Army soldier accused of murder ... another addition to the convoy, as he is to be escorted to prison.

    The somber film follows this traveling party as they move slowly and methodically across the open plains and wilderness. There are no moments of levity, as death and danger are constantly hovering. No real reason for optimism exists, and surviving the day is the only goal. Despite the appearance of little happening, there is much going on here for the characters and in commentary on the times. At its core, the story is about Blocker's reclamation of his soul and humanity; although redemption may not be possible as he recalls Julius Caesar and getting used to killing, but not to losing men.

    Political correctness is avoided in many scenes, though the message is clear that the hatred between the Native Americans and the mostly Anglo settlers and soldiers stems from the unethical seizure of land by violent force. Amends are not possible even with a change of heart. It's in these moments where we desire a more in-depth look at the various native factions.

    Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi works with some amazing vistas, landscapes and rock formations. He deftly balances the breathtaking beauty of the land with the intimacy of the mission. There is a relentless undercurrent of simmering emotion throughout the film, much of which comes courtesy of Christian Bale. Sporting a mustache to rival Poirot, Bale is remarkably adept at silently expressing disgust, rage, resolve and resignation. His groans and grunts convey as much as soliloquies for many actors. While he feels remorse and seeks redemption, we are left with the not-especially-upbeat message that we are what we are.
  • brankovranjkovic9 January 2018
    9/10
    Hostiles, Oscar worthy in many aspects
    Warning: Spoilers
    Emotional and tense Weston drama, set in 1892. The film opens with a quote from DH Lawrence - "The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer". The film then goes straight into a violent action scene where we see a rancher and his children are murdered by a band of Comanche, the horses are led away but the (now) widow escapes.

    At this point Christian Bale's character (Capt. Blocker) is introduced, he is a legendary army captain, who has just been given a mission to escort an old Indian chief and his family back home across the desolate challenging landscape.

    Blocker is initially reluctant, he has a bad history with the native Indians, and the chief who is dying of cancer is a longstanding adversary. However, the mission has come directly from the President and he is further threatened with the loss of his pension if he refuses.

    Rollercoaster brutal action interspersed with quiet thoughtful set-pieces, where a lot is depicted with very few words. We soon realise that the line between good and bad are very blurred.

    I liked this film and I think you will too if you liked 'Hell or High Water', or 'Logan', or 'Dances with Wolves'
  • Páiric O'Corráin8 January 2018
    8/10
    An Epic Western
    Warning: Spoilers
    Hostiles: A Western involving a journey from New Mexico to Montana, from desert scrubland to canyons, to woods, to mountain forests. Elements of The Searchers, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven and Heavens Gate intersect to create a film which has a story of its own.

    1892, Christian Bale is a US Calvary Captain on the verge of retirement who is coerced into bringing the fatally ill Chief Yellow Knife (Wes Studl) and his family home to Montana to die. Along the way he encounters a woman (Rosamund Pike) whose family has been slain by Comanches. Pike is not merely a victim and proves to be a fighter as well as a source of stability for Bale.

    Bale is an Indian fighter who has a past history with Yellow Knife as have his Sergeant (Rory Cochrane) and Corporal (Jonathan Majors). The three soldiers have worked together for years, are like brothers and work as a team with little need for communication. Bale and Cochrane in particular are suffering traumas from years violence and killing, Coming under attack from the Comanches, fur trappers, a prisoner and ranchers, Bale realises that he has to rely on Yellow Knife for support. 8/10.
  • nikhilrampal7 January 2018
    7/10
    The Western Revenant
    Now whether you enjoy 'award bait' films like no country for old men or The revenant will impact what you make of this movie. But 2 things are objective facts. The acting is phenomenal and the use of sound and cinematography are exceptional.

    Despite the slow 2nd and 3rd act, the film is likely to win most viewers over with the final showdown and closing scenes which lead the viewer too look at the film from a more symbolic perspective.

    This is not an action film, nor is it a revenge film. It is a film about the pointlessness of racial tension, grieving and PTSD. But boy is it well done.
  • steve beard7 January 2018
    7/10
    No Easy Road Trip
    Warning: Spoilers
    I saw "Hostiles", starring Christian Bale-Exodus:Gods and Kings, 3:10 To Yuma_2007; Rosamund Pike-Gone Girl, Jack Reacher; Wes Studi-A Million Ways to Die in the West, Street Fighter and Ben Foster-Hell or High Water, 3:10 to Yuma_2007. This is a western-A genre that I happen to be quite fond of when they are done well-that is actually pretty good. The only problem I might mention is that it was a little slow, in parts. Otherwise, I liked it. Christian plays an Army Captain in 1892 that has a reputation as an Indian fighter and he is getting close to his retirement. Well, guess what? His boss wants him to escort a Cheyenne Chief, Wes, to Montana so that the chief can die in his own homeland-he has cancer. Of course, Indian hater Christian refuses but his boss-like lots of bosses-is ruthless and wants things done his way or it's the highway, so he threatens Christian's pension if he doesn't do the job. Christian saddles up for the long journey and picks up a few strays along the way; Rosamund, who lost her entire family to a Comanche raiding party, and Ben, an Army soldier accused of a crime and being transferred to a nearby fort for hanging. Rosamund is a bit traumatized from the attack on her family at the farmhouse so she is not too happy to see Wes riding with Christian's group. Ben thinks he should be set free, since he is an innocent man and didn't do anything wrong. Christian knows that it's not going to be an easy road trip. It's rated "R" for violence and language and has a running time of 2 hours & 13 minutes. It's not one that I would buy on DVD-Did I mention it was a little slow?-but it would be a good rental.
  • george.schmidt7 January 2018
    10/10
    Echoes of 'The Outlaw Josey Wales', 'Unforgiven', 'Dances With Wolves' and 'The Searchers' - Bale is excellent; one of the year's best films!
    Warning: Spoilers
    HOSTILES (2017) **** Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Rory Cochrane, Jonathan Majors, John Benjamin Hickey, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons, Timothee Chalamet, Adam Beach, Xavier Horsechief, Q'orianka Kilcher, Tanaya Beatty, Peter Mullan, Robyn Malcolm, Ryan Bingham, Paul Anderson, Ben Foster, Scott Wilson. Echoes of 'The Outlaw Josey Wales', 'Unforgiven', 'Dances With Wolves' and 'The Searchers' permeate filmmaker Scott Cooper's Civil War era oater about a renowned Army captain (Bale in a keenly resolved turn) ordered to escort a war enemy - a Cheyenne chief (Studi proving still waters run deep) dying of cancer and decreed no longer a prisoner - back home with his family in tow. Along the pioneer trails of the open country they encounter the deeply scarred survivor of an Indian attack (Pike also excellent) and miles to go in the process. Cooper's economical script and the gorgeously filmed set pieces by cinematographer Masanobu Takayanuagi stand-out as well as the fine ensemble cast. One of the year's best films and a must see.
  • TheLittleSongbird5 January 2018
    8/10
    Not a film to be hostile towards
    With a high appreciation of the Western genre, the involvement of a talented cast, the generally positive (so far) critical reception and one of 2017's best trailers (to me at least), 'Hostiles' had me completely sold from the get go.

    Getting back from seeing 'Hostiles' a couple of hours ago (although a 2017 film it was only released in my country today), it on the most part did not disappoint at all. Some may be turned off by the slow pace and the brutality of some scenes. Neither bothered me actually, having gone in to the cinema knowing exactly what to expect from watching the trailer and reading a few reviews that made it clear from the outset that 'Hostiles' was a deliberate and uncompromising sort of film.

    Yes 'Hostiles' is a slow burner, but deliberately so for atmosphere and mood reasons most likely. That being said, it reminded me very much of the elegiac quality of the classic Westerns that 'Hostiles' actually made me feel nostalgic for while watching it. 'Hostiles' is indeed uncompromising, with the violence being the kind that takes no prisoners and isn't afraid to hold back, while not going over-the-top that it feels gratuitous.

    This can be seen in as early on as the opening scene that is as powerfully gut-wrenching an opening scene of any film from 2017 Just as disturbing are the second appearance of the Comanche and the powerful climax. 'Hostiles' is not non-stop brutality though. There is real sincerity and poetry too.

    What could have been a major distraction from the main mission, which in itself is very heartfelt and is never lost even with everything else potentially threatening to, is actually what provides the film's heart and vulnerability. Rosalie's plight and back story really resonated with and moved me, as did the very heartfelt coda and a persuasive message, delivered just about right, that has as much relevance now as it did then.

    'Hostiles' looks stunning visually. The scenery is majestic in the most spectacular of ways, ranging between stark and lush. The period detail is evocative, with the right amount of grit and understated sumptuousness. The cinematography sweeps just as much in a way that is beautiful in a non-flashy but very natural and richly atmospheric fashion.

    Similarly the music has atmosphere and grace without being intrusive. Sometimes 'Hostiles' has scenes with just dialogue and shots of actor's expressions which speaks volumes with no music or sound featured and all the better for it. It's beautifully directed by Cooper too and much of the dialogue is thoughtful and sincere and the action thrillingly authentic without being over-the-top.

    Christian Bale gives a performance that is among his all-time best, and he always has been a commanding and powerful screen presence. He has a smouldering, intense authority throughout in a stoic, subtle sense, whether in his stubbornness, his compassion or in action, commanding the screen effortlessly and often in a nuanced way, a knockout in the final 30 minutes. And don't worry, his character-of-its-own moustache is nowhere near as distracting or unintentionally funny as one would think.

    Making even more of an impression is Rosamund Pike in perhaps her second best performance to date after her exceptional once-in-a-lifetime performance in 'Gone Girl'. She has never been more heart-wrenching or poignant in especially in the first half, when we see how such an every-family-member's-worst-nightmare tragedy has affected and broken Rosalie, something that Pike demonstrates with expressive nuance, pathos and a far wider emotional and expressive range than she has been given credit for in the past. Despite always liking her, it is performances like this, 'Gone Girl' and 'A United Kingdom' that have particularly stretched Pike and played to her strengths and it is this direction that she could keep pursuing.

    Sadly, it is perhaps too late for either Bale or Pike to be considered for awards attention, if the film had been released earlier either or preferably both could and should have been in serious contention for all the major ones. This may seem like extreme hyperbole, but this is my genuine stance on this. They are very well served by the supporting cast, with especially dignified turns from Q'orianka Kilcher and Wes Studi (who could have been had more screen time but dominates every time he appears, often without saying a huge amount). Ben Foster is also strong. Nobody is bad here.

    Not that 'Hostiles' is perfect. The villain roles here are rather sketchy, they could have had more to them than one-dimensional (though the Comanche are quite chilling still) ciphers there mainly to provide the conflict, only for them to be dispatched pretty quickly (especially the trio of abductors).

    Although sincere and thought-provoking on the whole the dialogue rambles at times, meaning a few scenes are bogged down by too much talk that slows things down a little. The middle act is particularly true to this, when the pace doesn't feel as tight and the storytelling not quite as focused (though still gripping).

    For my liking too many of the secondary cast members have very little to do other than 10 minutes tops of screen time and some lines admittedly delivered well. Perhaps the film is slightly too long as well, but that wasn't as big an issue for me.

    Overall, a very good film and almost great, with a lot of outstanding elements (especially the visuals, the two leads, the atmosphere and emotional power). Not a film to be hostile towards. 8/10 Bethany Cox
  • ecto-318 January 2018
    9/10
    Nuanced Exploration of Psychological Tensions and Subtleties
    I was intensely moved by this film, which I viewed during a preview screening in San Diego.

    The composition of the scenes, dark exposures, extreme close-ups, surreal techniques of distortions of focus and viewpoints, saturated and washed out colors, superb acting, and moralistic conflicts between the angels and demons within the humanity that haunts so many, left me transfixed and absorbed by this highly charged and complex production.

    I was also aware that this may not appeal to mass audiences who expect plot and action to move at a faster pace, with fewer complexities and inward, sometimes awkward analysis.

    In its simplest form, this is a road trip set on the margins of the 19th Century, when the West was almost tamed, by men hardened by the brutalities of the Civil War, and the slaughter of innocents.

    It is also a story of honor, of rugged individualism, and a struggle with tribal and racial prejudices that has a very contemporary resonance.

    I noticed that some were leaving in mid-screening, but most of the preview audience remained until the end, and a good number applauded with conviction.

    I was intrigued by the lush cinematography, the Kodachrome appearance of some scenes, the extremes of violence and brutality, and the morality lessons of wiping out a race of Native Americans who were here first, but needed to make room and be displaced, out of convenience and greed, because it could be done, regardless of the injustice or inhumanity.

    Those same prejudices also have a contemporary ring to them, reflecting current attitudes towards immigrants, those of darker skins, and "the others" among us.

    I was reminded of such literary works transformed into screenplays as Heart of Darkness, The Red Badge of Courage, High Noon, The Magnificent Seven, and Seven Samurai, along with directors such as Akira Kurosawa, Antoine Fuqua, John Ford, and John Huston.

    For those who can endure the graphic violence, scenes with mumbled dialogue, and tormented characters, and can make the effort to go beyond that, this can be a very rewarding film experience.
  • wavesprod17 January 2018
    10/10
    A 10
    Much like "In the Name of the Father", one of my fav's, Scott is a brillant story teller. Lead by Christian Bale (who is also, amazing, Brillant!!!, in one of his best roles) and a amazing cast, and crew, this is the best movie of the year. Crafted by a solid group of filmmakers led b , Scott. Thx again, Bax
  • Joe Stemme15 January 2018
    Director Scott Cooper's violent powerful Western
    Warning: Spoilers
    Director Scott Cooper's violent western HOSTILES is based on an unfinished manuscript by the late Donald E. Stewart (screenwriter of MISSING, HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER). He was selected personally by Stewart's family based on his previous Directorial efforts such as CRAZY HEART and BLACK MASS. The family chose wisely. HOSTILES is set in the 1890s, the end of the old west. The wars between Caucasians and native Americans were dying down, but not out. As the film begins, we see a ghastly attack by Apaches against a family of settlers. The lone survivor is the mother Rosalie (Rosamund Pike). In New Mexico, an embittered Military Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) is ordered to escort dying Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family to Montana so that he may die on his native ground. Blocker only does so under direct orders and adamantly against his will. Blocker and his small posse of soldiers move out towards Montana, along the way rescuing Rosalie and taking her with them. Along the trail, the group is attacked by both whites and Native Americans. The assaults are short, sharp and shocking. Despite the fierce outbursts, HOSTILES is mostly a meditative study of how Blocker and his men and Chief Yellow Hawk and his family come to find a grudging respect despite all the blood and battle they have all witnessed - and taken part in. Rosalie acts as a symbolic intermediary, with her wounds still raw and recent. Not that long ago, a film like this would have been tabbed as a 'Revisionist Western', but, thankfully, that no longer has to be said. Some will call the film's themes too facile (a dinner scene where the themes are laid out is the weakest in the movie) - and, there's certainly aspects of that critique that runs true. Still, what makes HOSTILES so powerful, is that it does a splendid job of digging below the surface. You feel the pain, anger and emotion that runs deep with these men and women. The end of the 'war' will not end their anguish. This isn't a simplistic John Wayne western where they do colorful battle and then smoke a peace pipe and walk away, nor a Clint Eastwood Man With No Name demi-samurai tale, where justice is meted out and then he slinks off into the dark. The wounds remain. The acting if fine all around. The dialogue is spare for the most part, so it's up to the actors to convey through their faces and restrained body gestures. Fortunately, they are up to the task. While the action scenes are relatively few, they are disturbingly real and graphic - at time, perhaps too brutal for the films' own good. There is a tiny ray of sunshine at the end of the bleak trail the film vividly depicts, but, it's well earned.
  • pr6512 January 2018
    8/10
    Superb film, but harrowing to view.
    Superb film, though quite harrowing to watch. Although the film might seem slow in parts, I never felt bored for a moment. Excellent cinematography, wonderful acting with some very complex characters. Overall the film gives a (suitably) bleak impression of a period in what is sometimes referred to as the "Indian Wars". I found myself wanting to learn more about this period of history and further educate myself. Doesn't this make a refreshing change from escapist 'Superhero' films etc? I don't object to escapist films at all, they serve a purpose - relief from the stress of modern life, but this is the kind of film needed to give an occasional dose of reality. Highly recommended!
  • dvdbvvmn11 January 2018
    9/10
    If you like (or love) Dances with Wolves, you will like this.
    Warning: Spoilers
    Jdesando beat me to it when he mentions "Dances with Wolves" as this is the film I was thinking of when I watched "Hostiles".

    Both films are about a US cavalry soldier on a journey into acceptance and forgiveness concerning the fractured, violent and aggressive relationship between the "white" invaders and the native American Indians.

    Whereas I would say D.W.W. is slightly romanticised and Dunbar is initially ambivalent about the treatment of the Indians as he only wants to experience the frontier, the historical attitude is much more aggressively shown. At the beginning Joe Blocker has every reason to hate the Indians. By the end of the film he has turned 180 degrees and his attitude towards how the Indians have been treated completed changed.

    Both this film and D.W.W have a subdued pace (though some would say "boring") with intermittent action sequences.
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