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An all-around outstanding film with heart and substance
TheTopDawgCritic5 December 2018
I'm disappointed at the low score and wannabe critics tearing this film apart politically, morally and historically.

This is not your typical Hollywood production, but instead, a very touching and beautiful film.

This is Scott Cooper's 4th film he both directed and wrote, and he nailed it. I hope to see much more from him in this caliber, and he is the one to watch as his resume grows.

This film was near perfect in every category. If the pace was a little faster and/or perhaps the 134 min length a little shorter, it would have been a perfect 10/10 from me.

It's been a while since I've seen a film so perfectly cast - all cast, ever single one of them, and they all performed just as great, especially Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, who both were exceptional in their roles.

If you're expecting a wild west action Western, this isn't it. But if you want to see a near perfect film the way they used to be made, this is a gem. Ignore the negative reviews and just watch it. Would I see it again? Yes. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.

A well deserved 9/10 from me and mad props to Scott Cooper for this beautiful gem of a film.
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A Poetic Film With A Knockout Christian Bale Performance!
namashi_115 July 2018
Scott Cooper's 'Hostiles' is a poetic film, that explores life & death with gut-wrenching violence & a hard-hitting narrative. This isn't an easy watch & nor does it want to be. Its a film about hate, divide & circumstances, & Cooper along-with leading-man Christian Bale, deliver a deeply affecting & meditative experience.

'Hostiles' follows a U.S. Cavalry officer (Bale) who must escort a Cheyenne war chief (A Fantastic Wes Studi) and his family back to their home in Montana in 1892.

'Hostiles' is about people haunted by their past & their actions towards one-another. Every character here, be it the protagonist, or the characters around him, are unsettled & victims of hate & hatred. This is a story about people who want to question their hate for one-another, but are unable to, due to their given circumstances. This is a human story & the sheer brutality here depicts a side of humanity we all are aware off. Its told with honesty, albeit, with gut-wrenching aggression.

Scott Cooper is in top-form this time around. 'Hostiles' is a slow-moving, poetic piece, that sees the filmmaker in strong command. Cooper captures the bleakness & conflict, with remarkable understanding. Cooper's Vision is astonishingly captured by Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi, who paints 'Hostiles' into a visual marvel. Takayanagi's Camerawork is meditative & skillful to the point of perfection. Editing by Tom Cross adapts perfectly to the film's pace & offers sharpness overall. Art & Costume Design are pitch-perfect. Max Richter's Score is beautiful.

Performance-Wise: Christian Bale delivers a knockout performance. As the conflicted & haunted Cavalry officer, Bale portrays the part with rare conviction. Its no new fact that Bale is among our greats, but 'Hostiles' shows us a side of his that may have just put him up there, right next to the all-time screen giants. What a wonderfully nuanced performance by Bale. Of the rest of the cast, Wes Studi portrays his complex part fantastically. Rosamund Pike is restrained. She's controlled & believable all through. Jesse Plemons is solid, as always. Ben Foster plays a yet another unlikable character, with the perfect blend of menace & insanity. Rory Cochrane is first-rate. Timothée Chalamet makes a very brief appearance, yet he does his bit nicely. Stephen Lang, again in a cameo, is outstanding! Others lend good support.

On the whole, 'Hostiles' demands a viewing on the strength of its sheer merits. Don't Miss This One!
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Slow burn movie with great acting and good character arcs ...
j_e_bryant11 February 2018
This movie won't be for everyone. It's dark, fairly "slow" paced, and at times brutal. But at it's core, this movie is about forgiveness -- and for me, it rang true and was emotionally impactful. Christian Bale is in top form here, and his performance as well as the rest of the cast is great. It's beautifully shot and the score is haunting and harrowing. Well directed and worth watching -- just don't expect this to be a fast paced thrilling Western. It's not heavy on plot -- it's more thematic.
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The Effects of Death Exlpored
KingKongKyle8 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
*Review: Hostiles*

Opening your film with what will be the most intense or disturbing scene in the movie is risky. It can affect the intensity of your climax later and it puts the audience at unrest right from the get go. But that is exactly writer/director Scott Cooper's intention. Hostiles opens with one of the most violent scenes I can recall outside of the war and horror genres. It will make you uneasy and have you wondering, "what exactly have I signed up for?" This story takes place in a violent world; a world where even the best of men are dangerous men with blood on their hands. Cooper wants you to understand that, and to feel that from the start. And he accomplishes this with great precision.

Hostiles follows renowned Army Captain Joseph Baker (Christian Bale) who is assigned the task of transporting a dying Native American Chief (Yellow Hawk played by Wes Studi) to his homeland in Montana where he can die in peace. This detail also includes transporting the Chief's family which includes his son (Adam Beach), daughter, daughter-in-law and grandson. Baker does not want this assignment. Yellow Hawk has been a war prisoner for some time, captured no doubt by Baker himself. The two men have seen each other commit violent acts against each other's soldiers and friends. There is understandable animosity between them and despite Baker's insistence that he does not want this mission, he has little choice in the matter if he wants to retire from the Army with his record unscathed and his pension intact. As his commanding officer, Colonel Briggs (Stephen Lang) tells him, "This will be done. And it will be done by you."

Not long after the Captain, his small team of soldiers and Yellow Hawk's family start their journey, they find Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike), a woman in dire straits after just witnessing the murder of her entire family and the burning of her home at the hands of another Native American tribe. Baker and his men know they must take this woman with them, not just to protect her from further attack and the elements, but to protect her from herself. All of this takes place in the first fifteen minutes of the film. The rest I will leave you to discover on your own.

For a movie that runs nearly a quarter past two hours, it is a wonder how it never drags. Had the film been released more in line with the awards season time frame, editor Tom Cross may well have seen his way to a few ceremonies. As would cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi, who has made a film so gorgeous that even the close-up shots look amazing. When it comes to the beautiful landscape, this is probably the best-looking Western since Open Range. The score by Max Richter is very subtle, it fits the tone of the film perfectly, never feeling intrusive, but not unnoticed.

Every actor in this film is giving one of their finest performances. I'd go as far as to say this is Christian Bale's best performance since The Machinist, which is saying a lot since he's given so many great performances in between. Rosamund Pike's portrayal of a tortured soul feels authentic and heartbreaking. Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Rory Cochrane, Jonathan Majors, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons and Ben Foster all have opportunities to shine in smaller roles. Cochrane in particular shines as a soldier whose life of killing has finally taken its toll mentally and physically.

Hostiles may just come across as depressing to some viewers. It is dark and violent and there is little levity to speak of. There is so much death on screen that at times the movie seems like it is a story about death. And in a way it is. The acts of violence in the film happen quickly, but the repercussions of those acts are dwelt upon. We bear witness to the effects of death in its various forms. As such the film becomes more than just a story about death, but one about our reconciliation with mortality; our understanding of an outcome that is inevitable for us all one way or another.

Scott Cooper has created one of the best films of 2017. A haunting, emotional Western that you will not soon forget. A film that looks this good and that is this emotionally engrossing deserves to be seen on the big screen. And a film this well-made deserves an audience. So get to it. 9/10
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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.
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Hostiles review
elliot-360-93680722 October 2017
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.
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A 19th Century Western with 21st Century PC.
tygarr131 January 2018
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.
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Let hate die
jon.h.ochiai3 January 2018
"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."

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.
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Christian Bale shines
shweta-516572 January 2018
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.
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Among the best Modern Westerns
eccl27 January 2018
Excellent acting (of course by Bale and Pike and their chemistry; but also by the entire crew), beautiful variety of scenery and smart music score. After reading other reviews, i thought it would not meet expectations; however, Hostiles did not disappoint. It was a well paced journey (left my wife and i wanting more), with authentic fight scenes and sounds; as well as interesting relationships and lessons in duty, sacrifice and care. Suspenseful, adventurous, romantic, emotional and dramatic; better than nearly all of the old 1940s and 1950s westerns; and more classy than the most of the post-Wayne, Stewart, and Scott ones. Unlike many that story line is primarily about revenge or some criminal motive; Hostiles is about a mission and survival.
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Christian Bale shines in emotional journey that has a powerful and relevant message.
FallonTimberlake201630 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
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-.
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About finding rays of hope in sickening darkness
kluseba31 January 2018
Hostiles is a quite interesting western that convinces with stunning landscapes, intriguing characters and strong acting performances. The movie has a quite slow pace, so don't expect a vivid American or Italian western from the fifties and sixties. This movie is a drama above all, situated in a historically intriguing period between the American Civil War and the emergency of the Industrial Revolution.

The story revolves around Captain Joseph Blocker, who has lost many friends and brothers in arms in battles against Apaches and who openly despises them. He tracks them down pitilessly and tells himself that he is doing his duty while people around him start becoming depressed and disillusioned. One day, a colonel gives him a final order before his retirement,direct from the President. Joseph Blocker must escort a dying Cheyenne Chief, his personal arch enemy, as well as his family back to their tribal lands as a sign of reconciliation with the First Nations. The captain, who has always obeyed orders, is about to refuse but is menaced and forced to cooperate. He gathers a few faithful brothers in arms and must also cooperate with some inexperienced rookies around him to go on this dangerous trip. On the way from New Mexico to Montana, the unusual group faces numerous challenges as they face difficult weather conditions, a hostile Comanche party and racist landowners among others. They are joined by numerous other intriguing characters such as a mentally unstable woman who has lost her entire family to the Apaches and a former brother in arms of the captain who is about to be hanged. However, their biggest challenge is to fight their inner demons and overcome their differences in order to survive in hostile territory.

The movie finds the right balance between violent sequences that focus on the witnesses' reactions rather than graphic elements and clever dialogues between the diversified cast of characters. The most fascinating character is Captain Joseph Blocker, who seems to be a pitiless racist at first sight but who turns out to be a man with a strong moral compass who goes through a coming-of-age on this fateful journey and ends up not only forgiving the Indians for killing his partners but even empathizing and sympathizing with them, ending up defending them beyond duty. His positive development exemplifies the difficult relationship between European settlers and America's First Nations and is ultimately a sign of forgiveness, hope and peace. This positive moral contrasts the quite sinsiter mood of the film with an elevated body count and sensitive topics such as depression, revenge and suicide as many characters shatter under the burden of the challenging order.

Hostiles is a film that needs some patience and time to unfold but ends up being particularly rewarding thanks to the strong moral behind the sinister mask. Christian Bale, one of the world's greatest actors, even delivers the best performance of his career as tough anti-hero with just as many flaws as strengths. Above all, Hostiles is a film that is profoundly human, in all its sickening darkness interrupted by some rays of light. The perfect ending exemplifies this mixture perfectly. Western and drama fans should experience this film at the cinema and fans of Christian Bale just can't get around this movie either. Hollywood should produce more westerns and less superhero movies.
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A revisionist western in the mighty tradition of Dances with Wolves.
jdesando24 December 2017
"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.
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A Fine Film
wrightjr-2864928 January 2019
No doubt there is a very 21st century agenda to this 19th Century story. The political correctness runs thick. Beyond this the acting is stellar - Christian Bale as always- one of Hollyeood's best - knocks it our if the park and he has real chemistry with the equally wonderful Rosamund Pike. The story moves slowly, unfolding within the breathtaking scenery - the shots of the American West are brilliant. Very enjoyable.
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Will NOT disappoint!
sheyda2224 January 2019
I'm in such euphoric state now, so I will not make much sense. A big shoutout to director, Scott Cooper! He made a movie with that kind of grace that I used to find in the big classical westerns with Gregory Peck and other titans, and although he just won me over through this masterpiece, I can't believe that he would have got his poetics to cling the way he wanted, if it wasn't for one of our times titans; Christian Bale. This guy is the ace in any directors sleeve who wants to make a memerable movie. And 10 min of applause for Rosamund Pike! She matched Christian Bale's huge presence and skills in a humbling way. (Such a natural beauty that is hard to find in the age of fillers ;) ). This duos chemistry was tangible and sang in perfect harmony with this warm and real poet that master Scott Cooper wanted to share with the world. I loved that there were real conversations in one of America's native tongues. The previous reviewers nailed it: This movie is like a poetry.
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Ultra-PC stereotyping
C_Lee_228 January 2018
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.
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Just the Facts
GThorn7522 January 2018
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.
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Brutal, languid and dark
ggallegosgroupuk22 December 2017
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.
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Massacre along the PC trail.
st-shot27 January 2018
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.
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Christian Bale is brilliant, but the movie...
Kolobos5127 January 2018
I had read quite a bit about this movie leading up to seeing it this weekend but, curiously, had nod seen a single ad. All I really knew was the Christian Bale's performance was getting raves (big surprise), the basic plot synopsis, and that I had enjoyed Scott Cooper's previous films. I had a bit of a bad feeling going in that it might be slow, preachy, and obvious but considering one review came right out and said this was the best American Western of the last twenty years, I was cautiously hopeful.

I should have listened to my instincts.

Hostiles isn't as unbearably overlong and self-important as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but it's close. In fact, it might not even be quite as good as that movie. At least I was fully engaged with all the characters in that film. In Hostiles, it really is just Bale and the people standing around him. The movie is way too long, very slow in the middle, and just not very engaging.

I can't say I hated it because the acting is great all around, except for a badly out of her element Rosamond Pike. Rory Cochrane, Scott Wilson, Jesse Plemmons, Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Stephen Lang, Ben Foster, etc. all turn in great work even if their characters aren't that strong. And then there's Bale. Hostiles works best when thought of as really great showcase for the brilliance of Christian Bale, how natural, how carefully constructed, how emotionally raw, and at times remarkably subtle a performer he can be. I truly believe in the future his name will be mentioned in the same breath as Marlon Brando and Robert de Niro. But he really needs to find himself better material. Like Exodus, the last thing I remember seeing him in, Hostiles shows him doing great work in a barely okay movie.

The problems I have with this movie are that the lead actress is stiff and awkward, playing a complex character whose arc does not even remotely land. The supporting characters are mostly disposable with only Cochrane, Studi, Foster, and a guy named Jonathan Majors who plays the sole black member of Bale's battalion really making any impact.

The pacing is all off. The movie grabs you by the throat in the first thirty minutes then just kind of tapers off until the finale. And even then, the plot isn't nearly as smart or impactful as it thinks it is. Most of the time, you'll know exactly where a scene is going from the moment it starts. Honestly, I knew exactly where the movie was going after reading its plot synopsis on IMDB.

Christian Bale plays a soldier ordered to transport some captive natives across Western country which he reluctantly agrees to do because he has been at war with natives in general and the chief, played by Wes Studi, specifically. And he picks up Pike's pretty widow along the way. If you watch movies, you can guess every beat pretty much from there. Brotherhood of man, whites are just savage as the native "savages," romance blooms in unlikely places, etc. Oh, we're all awful for taking native land. The movie is just too proud of itself, too filled with Indie movie "big important movie" pretension to be as obvious as it is.

I wanted it to surprise me, to deviate a little, to do just one thing I really didn't expect but it just doesn't. At least not until the last ten minutes of the movie when Scott Wilson rides in for his bit part.

I can't say I didn't like the movie at all. I did actually really like the first third, Christian Bale is amazing, and there are great moments sprinkled throughout. I just wish Bale could get more work in better films. PS Hey Hollywood. how about letting Bale and Tom hardy face off again, but without the masks this time. It would be a treat for film fans and almost certainly better than the last few Bale films released.
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Hostiles Come From Anywhere
Raven-196930 September 2017
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.
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The hostility is toward the viewer
jbaird-694855 February 2018
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?
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Hostiles, Oscar worthy in many aspects
brankovranjkovic9 January 2018
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'
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Taking a long walk toward no place special
rcastl23358 January 2018
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.
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Dances with Hipsters
marc-atkinson196119 January 2018
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.
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