Monday, January 29, 2018

"Hostiles" Review by Tim Hellman

'HOSTILES': Four Stars (Out of Five)

A western about a U.S. cavalry officer who's tasked with escorting a Cheyenne war chief, and his family (against his will), to Montana in 1892. It stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Rory Cochrane, Ben Foster, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons, Timothee Chalamet, Adam Beach and Q'orianka Kilcher. The film was written and directed by Scott Cooper, who also helmed 'CRAZY HEART' and 'OUT OF THE FURNACE' (also starring Bale), and it's received mostly positive reviews from critics so far. I found it to be well made, and emotionally interesting (at times), but it's also really slow-paced.

The story is set in Fort Berringer, New Mexico, in 1892. Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Bale) has had a lot of war experience, and he's also built up an extreme amount of hate for Native Americans because of it. So when he's asked to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief, named Yellow Hawk (Studi), and his family, to Montana, he passionately refuses. His commanding officer, Colonel Abraham Biggs (Lang), informs him that it's a direct order from the President though, and Blocker's approaching retirement will be threatened if he doesn't comply. So Blocker reluctantly follows his orders. Along the way he meets a suicidal widow, named Rosalie Quaid (Pike), who's family was just killed by Comanche Indians. Blocker and his men are soon attacked by the same Comanche party.

The movie is beautifully shot, and acted, and parts of it seem like they should be really emotional. Still the movie is just way too long and slow-paced. I wouldn't have a problem with the length though, if there was just a little more going on. The couple in front of me (at the theater) asked me what I thought of it, after it was over, and I said 'pretty good'. They replied "it was just so boring though, I was expecting a lot more excitement". I'm so used to slow-paced Oscar bait, that I'm pretty used to watching boring movies like this, and I'm not overly critical of them (for it) either. The movie is definitely a challenge to sit through though. It's well made, and Bale is once again amazing in the lead, but you have to have a lot of patience to really enjoy it (I'd say).

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