Verdict: Rosamund Pike and Christian Bale's performances hit the right spot.
History has a way of repeating itself. That is one of the things that makes all works of arts relevant through time. Western is one of the few genres that has evolved over time and we can now see glimpses of them in sci-fi (Dark Tower) and even superhero movies (Logan). Scott Cooper of Out of the Furnace and Black Mass fame has teamed up with Christian Bale once again to deliver the first western of the year. Hostiles might seem like a typical western with the good guys and bad guys fighting it out. Once you watch the movie, you realize that it is never as simple.
What is Hostiles About:
Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike) is educating her kids while her husband is doing his daily chores on the ranch. The year is 1892 and everything seems to be going well until a native American tribe attacks the family and Rosalie barely makes it out alive. Not far from there, Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) locks up an escaping Apache family and is assigned another duty. He has to transport of the ailing locked-up Cheyenne war chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family to their home in Montana. The Captain is reluctant to pick up this job since he has a violent history with the chief murdering a lot of his friends. He recruits a few of his friends and colleagues to help him with the journey. They come across Rosalie living in her now burnt ranch and she joins them on this journey. But the trouble is not too far away and their journey is far from simple.
A man once said that "There was violence on both the sides" and this movie proceeds to prove that. The movie deals with racial tension, redemption, and the war in such a way that you can imagine the story is taking place in contemporary times. Scott Cooper has adapted the story from a manuscript by the late Donald E. Stewart who was known for movies like A Clear and Present Danger. Christian Bale delivers an amazing performance as the Captain who is troubled by his past and finds forgiveness too hard to find for the chief and his actions. At the same time, he is also the Captain who has committed atrocities similar to the ones as of the Chief. Rosamund Pike is brilliant as she reaches the end of sanity when confronted with losing everyone she loved and coming out stronger in the end. It is Wes Studi's character, who on his deathbed, finds it easier to forgive himself and others.
Masanobu Takayanagi's cinematography successfully provides the perfect contrast between the beautiful nature and the violent nature of those who inhabit it.
What could have been better:
Maybe it is the time that we live in where we look for easy gratification, but the pace of the movie fluctuates between slowing down and picking up. The part where it slows down could have been sped up as well.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
The beauty of the movie is that it leaves you with questions whether there is a thing called a good guy or a bad guy. Maybe the good guys have committed the most heinous atrocities or maybe the bad guys have redeemed themselves in some circumstances. The spectacular performance of the actors against the scenic Rocky Mountains is something you should not miss.