Watching Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles” is such a relaxing and riveting experience. It shows us the demons and peace in both Americans and Native Americans in the late 1800s, and has a nice cast playing those races with the right intensity.
Christian Bale stars as the retiring Capt. Joseph J. Blocker, who is forced to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief named Yellow Hawk (Wed Studi) and his family back to his home. En route, Blocker and his men encounter a widow named Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike), whose family was murdered by savages, and joins them on their journey.
Yellow Hawk and his family have to be cuffed on their journey, but they eventually earns Blocker’s trust, especially when savages pop by to reek havoc.
The cast also includes Ben Foster as a criminal Blocker’s men must escort; Jesse Plemons as a Lt, who worries about killing people; and Stephen Lang as Blocker’s commanding officer, who orders him to escort the Native Americans home. Out of all these stars, the ones that stick out are Bale, Pike, and Studi, give sharp performances.
Based on a story Donald E Stewart, “Hostiles” shows us the mutual sides of Americans and Native Americans-the evil side and resentful side-and the friendships that can be formed. It does lag at times (mostly in the dark scenes), but the movie is gritty entertainment. It’s also beautifully shot with Masanobu Takayanagi (“Silver Linings Playbook”) cinematography and Tom Cross’ editing, and beautifully located. All of this is aimed by Scott Cooper.