User Reviews (111)

  • G G Gwalles22 December 2017
    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.
  • GThorn7522 January 2018
    Just the Facts
    Warning: Spoilers
    From a cultural perspective, this film has well documented issues, so I'm sticking to the facts:

    The premise of this movie is absurd. In 1892, train service from New Mexico to Montana was available via multiple routs. DILEMMA SOLVED with a handful of train tickets. All aboard to the movie playing in the theater next door!

    Also by 1892, the Indian wars were over. The Indian threat in the West was virtually nil. Comanche raids were unheard-of in the 1880's, let alone in 1892! It takes 30 seconds to Google that stuff before writing.

    If, for some non-existent reason, a small Army detail escorting prisoners was authorized to hoof it from NM to Montana in 1892, they would take well-worn trails and roads, resupplying at about 20 spots along the way. A 1000 mile, off-road odyssey would take 4 month. Two mules packed with supplies?? That gets you about 100 miles out.

    Off-trail blazing through steep mountain timber? The rout depicted is fantastical and absurd. I'm surprised their horses weren't tight-rope walking the Continental Divide for the entire trip. That would make for some nice cinematography, also!

    Why the heck did the lady remain with the Army escort for the entire flippn' trip to Montana? Army won't allow that, no matter how bajiggity she is. They would have dumped her in the first of a dozen towns along the way. Besides, didn't she want to notify someone that HER ENTIRE FAMILY HAD BEEN MURDERED!? HEY, West Point barista! Next time yell for help when a crazy dude attacks you in the rain? Didn't they teach you this advanced technique at West Point? 5-minute fight scene in front of tent city and all you had to do was yell "Yo, this shackled, pneumatic, hypothermic psycho is somehow kickn' my arse!"

    Why did sage-betty continue to sleep in tough guy's tent after hipster-beard died? That leaves one tent up for grabs! Ah man, I'm getting all worked up now! I can't comment on the rest of this movie because I walked out.

    Bale and Pike are super talented and do their best (giving each a star for performance alone), but this film takes itself so seriously that it was impossible for me to get past the bologna. I couldn't even make it to the ending.
  • st-shot27 January 2018
    Massacre along the PC trail.
    Warning: Spoilers
    Referencing DH Lawrence at the outset Hostiles continues the Hollywood trend (Suburbicon, The Shape of Water) to blame the caucasian male for everything that seems to be terrible in American history, real or otherwise. There's an opening slaughter of homesteaders by a marauding band of Commanches but by the last reel it is overwhelmingly clear who the monsters are after two interchangeable groups of surly Euros along with a guilt ridden trooper apologizing for the white man's misdeeds blot the screen with their miscreant ways. In its attempt to be "even handed" it takes a side.

    Veteran Indian fighter Captain Blocker (Christian Bale) is assigned to take ailing Chief Yellow Hawk back to his homeland in Montana. The stoic Blocker, an heroic racist balks at first but is given little option. Once along the uneasy trail conflict and camaraderie mingle.

    Stuck in a funk from start to finish Hostiles is more saunter than gallop as our morose and taciturn band of uneasy riders make their way across the breathtakingly stunning landscape of North American wilderness. Spending more time burying people than communicating director Scott Cooper keeps the meter running as he wastes time with endless close-ups and pregnant pauses that more or less examine the same issue repetively. Without an ounce of comic relief Hostiles simply strings along one tragedy after the next as writer director Cooper sluggishly attempts to nuance his irony of civilized savage versus noble Native American.

    Note: An ideal antidote for this mawkish work is Ulzana's Raid (1972) directed by Richard Fleischer and featuring Burt Lancaster. Dealing with a similar issue it is far more honest and coldly objective. Plus Burt does not have much time to reflect or shed a tear like Bale does a couple of time in Hostiles; he's too busy trying to keep his hair.
  • 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.
  • scottjtepper21 January 2018
    Redemption, Forgiveness and Understanding
    Warning: Spoilers
    Redemption is hard when everyone dies. Understanding is impossible in the make believe world of 1892 when Comanches were actually no longer massacring white settlors. And forgiveness never really comes.

    This fantasy Western does as much damage to the history of the West as the sanitized westerns which minimized the genocide of Native Americans and the cruelty and duplicity of the United States Government.

    Even the ending is a cheat. Our now retired Army Captain finally gets on that train to join the heterogenous -- and fantasy -- family that unremitting human brutality has created.

    The director thinks of himself as a modern John Ford. Not even close. He confuses the sluggish pace of his story telling, punctuated by five acts of horrendous violence -- for the pacing of Ford. Please. The director's hubris is pathetic.

    Properly cut and tightened up, this would have been a tight 95 minute movie with the redeeming qualities it lacks in its lazy trot through the meadows of the foothills of the Rockies. As anything else it is pretentious and stultifying.
  • marc-atkinson196119 January 2018
    Dances with Hipsters
    Warning: Spoilers
    Where are all these positive reviews coming from? I think we know where----paid writers pumping this bad oater. So we're thoroughly immersed in Captain Blocker's white-hot hatred for the injuns, and we're told why we should hate on 'em, too. Disembowelings, flayings, skinning-alivings.....blah blah..OK GOT IT. We're also told why the injuns hate us whitey----and it's the same old tired " took our land, were mean to us" Yawn. OK GOT IT. Within one ambush from the Comanche, Yellow Hawk and Blocker are trusted companions, tossing their hatred to the wind, Hollywood style. Yeah,like that would happen. Has anyone in hollywood actually read first-hand accounts of indian raids, or Army assaults?. Yeah NO----they haven't. by the end of the film, Blocker calls his bitter enemy "Old Friend". This kind of pie-in-the-sky-kitties-n-rainbows mentality seeps in to this movie and seals its fate to the $3 DVD section at Walmart.

    Oh, and "Fort Winslow" looks like a ranch in Santa Clarita, circa 2015. And by the way, the production designer should be run out on a rail. DRYWALL DID NOT EXIST IN 1892.

    So other then the sophomoric writing, the non-acting, and the hokey sets, this movie is at least boring. But that would be an insult to boredom.

    Lame at every level. Just rent "Once upon in the time in the West" for a real western, that's at least sorta close to reality.
  • Takethispunch18 February 2018
    Superb performance by Bale n great settings.
    In 1892, legendary Army Capt. Joseph Blocker reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their tribal land. Embarking on a harrowing and perilous journey from Fort Berringer, N.M., to the grasslands of Montana, they soon.....
  • Chris_Middlebrow13 January 2018
    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.
  • elliot-360-93680722 October 2017
    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.
  • 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
  • rcastl23358 January 2018
    Taking a long walk toward no place special
    Warning: Spoilers
    As a child of the Sixties, I watched a lot of Westerns, from 30 minute tv shows like Have Gun, Will Travel to the hour long Bonanza and Gunsmoke. I saw the Hollywood films of Howard Hawks, Robert Aldrich, John Sturges and later, the Italian-based movies of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood. So as I was watching Hostiles, the new film by Scott Cooper, starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi, I kept thinking that Sturges or Aldrich could have told the same story in 90 minutes instead of 2 hours--and made it move. Because this film is verrrrrry slow and more than a little episodic: Every 30 minutes there's an act of random violence followed by scenes of riders walking their horses through gorgeous Western vistas or setting up then breaking down their campsites. That's the movie. As a woman whose family is wiped out by a group of renegades, Pike does fine work, though oddly the costume department decided to purchase her wardrobe from a fashionable, high end Western wear store. As a hard-bitten cavalry officer on the verge of retirement, Bale mostly grunts, glowers or poses against those same majestic vistas. And Wes Studi, playing a dying but stoic Cheyenne chief, is allowed the occasional cough to remind us he's sick. All in all, despite the scenery and Pike's performance, it's an interminable slog.
  • bencaandrew9 January 2018
    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.
  • Raven-196930 September 2017
    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.
  • C_Lee_228 January 2018
    Ultra-PC stereotyping
    This movie presents such a relentlessly politically correct script, that if you aren't attracted by such scripts, you might want to spend your movie bucks elsewhere.

    Basically, the story amounts to a backward projection of 21st century politics and 21st century stereotypes into a late 19th century setting.

    There are good things in this movie, to be sure: lovely western depictions, solid cinematography, strong acting performances, and some powerful and tender moments.

    But the movie is drenched with such incredible, anachronistic dialog and plot lines that the film's good side is simply overwhelmed by the ham-fisted PC story.
  • Jon Ochiai3 January 2018
    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.
  • rioplaydrum28 January 2018
    You're Kidding, Right?
    Warning: Spoilers
    I am of a firm belief sometimes people will rant and rave positively over a book or movie simply because it's popular to do so. Not that it's any good.

    I call it the Oprah Syndrome. "Well, OPRAH liked it." Indeed. Best not have an opinion otherwise. People won't like us.

    This absolute bore of a film was just as long as it is pointless. I can not believe I sat through the entire thing.

    Our Capt. Blocker leads his small band of soldiers through hostile country to deliver an old man and his family to their homeland. About half get killed or maimed along the way, and the old man dies on the spot upon arriving.

    Now that's thrilling cinema.

    There is barely any character development here and an over-simplistic plot that might carry a book but not a movie.

    There are long stretches between any real action and characters do little else but quietly philosophize with one another in the rain, in the dark, or under the influence.

    In another incarnation, 'Hostiles' might have been a long forgotten TV movie of the week and that's all.

    "The greatest western since 'Unforgiven'".

  • dufrene-9404330 January 2018
    Brutal and depressing
    Being a western movie lover this left me disappointed, the movie never really pulls you into and storyline can't be saved by some decent acting in the movie, although not Bale's best performance anyway, there are some historical inaccuracies to begin with and movie is basically Bale on a two hour camping fest with a lot of violence, I expected it to be a violent movie but it is just too overplayed, just relentless killing and sadness, by the end of the movie I was ready to hang myself. The comparing the movie to Unforgiven is a Joke, it does not even come close
  • alex (doorsscorpywag)5 February 2018
    The Searchers? Not even fit to clean Big John's boot.
    Warning: Spoilers
    The idea that this was in the same league as The Searchers or Outlaw Josie Wales if laughable. True the director uses some stunning landscapes rather well but there was more to it than that and John Ford got it. This bloke did not.

    I am a fan of Christian Bale and think him a great actor along with Wes Studi and the criminally underused Steven Lang. But nobody could save this boring tripe.

    A day shot consisted of a line of horses and a night shot some dull conversation in a camp.

    The boredom is broken up by some violence to give us the reason for the title.

    The opening scene showed the director was no John Ford. A rather comical albeit tragic attack on a cabin. The man rushes out to confront the half dozen hostiles and is cut down. Why he did not stay in the cabin and pick them off as they came to him is just one conundrum of this dull as dishwater movie. His wife and her 3 kids stand watching instead of running away to allow her to have a reason to be in the last part of the film.

    Bale plays a Nathan Brittles type of part but instead of being sympathetic as John was he hates the Indjun! He is sent off to take one of the objects of that hate to his home so he can die. It is pretty obvious what was going to happen as Studi and Bale begin to see the light that hatred gets you nowhere

    The journey is a tedious one and by the time we go to Montana I was all bored out. Like his Black Mass we get a lot of mumbling which makes it hard to follow sometimes which is annoying but mainly it is just plain boring.

    The ending scene was ridiculous and a sop to all those that love a 'happy' ending to their movies about the 'Wild' West.

    Sadly it did not end that well for the Native Indians. Something John Ford was able to capture masterfully in his Westerns such as The Searchers or She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Clint Eastwood was the nearest we have come to since Ford and he too was a master of the Western genre. This bloke is not and I will bet Ford and Eastwood are still talked about in 100 years whilst this bloke will be forgotten about long before that.
  • jbaird-694855 February 2018
    The hostility is toward the viewer
    Slow but not slow enough for me to fall asleep. I wish I had. This movie sacrifices honesty for political correctness and kills anything approaching authenticity. Lots of dead people and grave digging duty but since we don't care about the characters it is pointless carnage; I felt like I was being beaten over the head with the pointless carnage. Pointless carnage throughout. Forced and cliched, with underdeveloped characters and illogical progressions, this movie never overcomes the PC baggage that ties it down. Minus two stars because of the PC, minus two more because it is depressing, minus one because it is slow, minus one because it had potential but never lived up to it and minus one because some fine actors weren't given a chance to shine in such a dimwitted cinematic vehicle. That leaves three stars. Is that too many?
  • FallonTimberlake201630 October 2017
    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-.
  • wgingery29 January 2018
    A Good Story Savaged by Sunday-School Piety
    Warning: Spoilers
    At some point in the fourth reel, this film slipped away from me. I stopped being a participant and became a critic: noticing the settings, costumes, and - kiss of death - the "acting." I watched to the end, but it never recaptured my full involvement.

    Which is a shame, because, behind the glibness, there is a worthwhile story.

    Back to the basics:

    (1) Monotony is, well, monotonous. Here, the pace and the tone feel rigidly programed: either #1 or #2: day or night, light or dark; ponderous solemnity mode or violent chaos mode; no shades of gray, no humor to lighten the mood, no irony or paradox to add depth.

    Ditto the people: 1 or 2, light or dark, sententiously philosophical or brutally violent (unless you're native american, in which case you are pretty much taken for granted).

    (2) Keep it moving: exposition is deadly, so give us only essentials.

    Cut all the prologue, where Quaid's (Pike's) husband and family are brutally slain. Yeah, we know you want to be evenhanded in acknowledging non-white terror on whites. But it is more dramatic and more involving for the audience to experience her from the same fresh, shocked, uncomprehending point of view as Capt Blocker (Bale) does.

    Likewise, cut the scene of Blocker's capture of the native american family (another glib attempt to seem evenhanded) and severely edit the exposition of Capt Blocker's assignment to escort Chief Yellow Hawk. Again, it's far more dramatic and involving to reveal the backstory and the animosity in real time, face to face.

    Which brings up the question: why don't you show us a scene of Chief Yellow Hawk performing red on white terrorism? Obviously, because that would destroy the audience's sympathy for CYH; and that would ruin the chance for reconciliation; which, in turn, would spoil the moral Sunday School lesson of the movie.

    Cut the easterner: adds nothing.

    With all the running time gained by cutting out the dead wood, you could actually round out the characters and fill in holes in the plot.

    (3) Don't patronize the audience by spelling it out;

    At one point someone gives a native american a pouch of tobacco, with the words: "We've treated you shamefully. So I'm giving you this tobacco." With that you flatten the emotional effect. Have enough confidence in us to let the audience have the pleasure of working it out.

    (4) What the audience wants to see is the characters dig down to their bedrock as they are forced to make hard choices; accordingly, we require conflict as the characters' expectations collide with reality.

    This film tends to take shortcuts.

    You want tearful farewells between men, one white, one black? Fine, we're OK with men expressing emotions, even a man expressing love for another man. But first show us - actually show us - what they've sacrificed for each other. No fair springing tears on us unprepared.

    You want to show us the first stirrings of sympathy for a stranger through an exchange of clothing? Make it count: prepare for it by showing us the development over time of the giver's change in attitude, and also what giving up the clothing means to the giver.

    The screenplay pops in plot points like pegs in a board. Too bad there's no forewarning of Blocker's murderous pal, or of the possibility that Bear Valley might be claimed by whites; result: the audience feels ambushed. How about a little plot construction? You want to use white fur trappers as villains? Fine, but let us in on it ahead of time that they might be in the neighborhood..

    There's more, but I hope you get the point. Sadly, the upshot was that I didn't exit the theatre with the insight that "This is how Life works: a man can change; he can reclaim his humanity, even after a life spent doing a nation's dirty work, by acknowledging the humanity of others, even that of his greatest enemy." Instead, it was more like "Wouldn't it be pretty to think so?"
  • 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.
  • Alanjackd9 January 2018
    Dull and messy
    Firstly, a few reviews hold this alike to Josey Wales and Unforgiven..this is of course utter nonsense...not even in the same category.

    Very messy and cliched...with lukewarm performances all around.

    Bale has done nothing good for many a year and Rosie has very little to do. Some of the situations were farcical and the direction was only ever basic at best. All the cast mumbled along while the director held up the lens to their faces for a full 133 minutes. The sad thing is I expected much, much more and left the cinema hungry for a movie that never came. Much better stuff around at the moment so I wouldn't bother if I were you
  • jimmymahone30 January 2018
    What a disappointment.
    Warning: Spoilers
    Scenery and cinematography were stunning. Casting and characterizations were first rate. However, the plot suffered from some unbelievable elements that spoiled the picture

    Obviously, the scriptwriter imposed 21st Century values and hindsight on a supposedly 19th Century story. More specifically, the heroine's decision, soon after trauma that supposedly left her totally dysfunctional, to leave a fort's safety at risk of more of the horrors she'd already seen, completely dashed the suspension of disbelief so necessary to fiction. The final insult was the closing scene, so hackneyed and predictable that it may have been taken from some western from the 1950s.

    This could have been a classic, but the cook threw in too much that didn't belong and spoiled the broth. Considering closely, the plot could have been quite original, but relied too much on exhausted and all-too-familiar plot twists. What a shame.
  • bushilomaria26 January 2018
    two-faced American soul
    Warning: Spoilers
    A GOOD movie night is what I call watching a movie that you didn't really want to watch. It's heavy, it's historical, it's drama and it leaves you thinking. So a GOOD movie night is not for mind numbing blockbusters or family comedies (though either one of those can be a good high quality movie).

    Going to the cinema last night I was prepared for a GOOD movie night. Choice fell onto the "Hostiles". Drama, based in 1890s. Vaguely based on real historical facts. On the menu: cultural differences, ethnic racism, deaths, cruelty, hatred. Spiced with lots of blood, screams and grief (unreasonably escalated and overplayed as turned out later). Main aspect: natives VS whitemen. Main actors: Bale and Pike. Sounds like a great choice for a heavy, soul drenching movie with incredible actors on stage.

    DISAPPOINTMENT. Big fat disappointment this movie is.

    Cinematography: cliché, cliché, cliché. I felt like I have seen this movie before. And if I could attach pictures here I would, to showcase how many scenes in the movie are simple clichés that we have seen everywhere: from Indiana Jones, to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to even Mulan. However, I get that some people will say it's CLASSIC. I can't argue that. It's classical to the bone, no inventiveness whatsoever in terms of scenery, camera angles, movements, ets.

    Actors: Rosamund Pike is a sociopath (and I mean it as a compliment) with her ability to portrait pain so well. With million of emotions on her face changing each other almost every second, she is a diamond of that movie, BUT... I hate to do that, because I truly love her work and find her incredibly talented - but some scenes are overplayed. Same goes for Christian Bale - good acting, apart from really painful moments that are also painful to watch because it's so horribly overplayed. I might just be a different person and experience pain in different way than the director/actors, but when I saw Bale screaming on his knees with his hands to the sky all I could think of is how good this scene will compliment my existing meme collection. What was he doing anyways? Burying a gun? That he used later in the movie? I am sure there is a better explanation to this and I just missed it with a loud popcorn chewing.

    Story: a cherry on top of my dissatisfaction cake. Apart from not being fully truthful and historically correct, it is also very clearly trying to erase the "bad guy" stereotype from the American nation. With this movie every North American who watched it cleaned off the blood from their hands. Because, maybe - maybe, we are not so bad after all? That is exactly what this movie tried to tell us.

    Admit to your mistakes by stating it at the very beginning: "The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted." And further on show us how soft, lonesome and emotional Americans are. Clearly, director never believed in the words he quoted.

    I would have a much better opinion of the movie, if the purpose of it was to show how truly heartless and cruel people can be to one another. But director had to ruin it with tears and heart-kindness.

    The end is snotty-optimistic with love all around and peace. To further indignant voices screaming about the amount of killed people in the movie - I see it all as colorful confetti that covers up a main idea - we are all good people, we are all human, and we all want to love and be loved.

    It is a good message to pass into masses, but realism of the statement is 0. Not what I expected to see based on the trailer/plot/reviews.

    I would recommend this movie for teenagers (I wanted to say children, but I guess it's a bit too bloody) - like a good old Disney movie - where we fight, we make up and live happily ever after.
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