While January is still not the most exciting month for movies, this film might save it from total mediocrity. Hostiles, directed by Scott Cooper (known for making Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace, and Black Mass), has finally been released for a limited time in theatres after its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. Christian Bale is back on the big screen playing Captain Joseph J. Blocker, who carries the task of taking a Cheyenne chief named Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family back to their homelands in Montana. On their way, they meet Rosalie Quaid, played wonderfully by Rosamund Pike, who suffers from traumatic events, like seeing her family getting killed by a gang of Comanche Indians.
Hostiles is a very character-driven story about a man who goes on an adventure and finds out that the people he’s escorting are also human beings just like him. The tone is very gritty and grounded, and Scott Cooper does a good job showcasing it with stunning cinematography and amazing performances from the cast. The intro perfectly sets up the vibe of the film as it introduces Rosamund Pike’s character in the best way possible. Christian Bale does a great job playing the lead role of Captain Blocker. As the movie goes on, his relationship with Yellow Hawk continues to develop, since they never liked each other in the first place. Speaking of Pike, her performance is the most memorable one out of all the cast members as she perfectly showcases her character’s emotions. You really feel her pain when she sees her family die right in front of her eyes, and it’s quite brutal. The film doesn’t hold back on its grittiness in its action scenes which gives us some great shoot-out sequences.
While the film does have a talented cast, a grounded tone, and beautiful cinematography, it’s very long at times. The film is only 133 minutes, which is fine, but there are some scenes that are painfully slow. The first act is a great introduction to know all these characters, yet sadly, the second act isn’t all that memorable. When people are talking and resting in tents, it’s fine that the director is doing it to give them some development, but some of those scenes feel a little unnecessary and redundant. However, the third act is so emotionally satisfying since it lets the audience personally connect with the characters and forces them to pay attention as it goes from a rocky start to a great finale.
Hostiles may have some pacing issues in the second act, but the first and the last act of the film really make up for it. With great performances from the cast, especially from Rosamund Pike, beautiful cinematography, and a gritty Western vibe, it is an enjoyable tale about a man learning that Native Americans are also human beings who just want to maintain peace and freedom. It’s an intense and emotional time at the movie theatre.
Hostiles is now playing in theatres.