Hostiles is a 2017 American Western film written and directed by Scott Cooper. It stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons and Timothee Chalamet. The story is about a U.S. Cavalry officer that has to lead a Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their Montana home in 1892.
Being a huge Western and Christian Bale fan, I couldn’t wait to see this film. This film is not quite as good as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but it is very well done. The film is rather violent and gory, but that’s how it was in the 1890’s. At times I gasped and a few times I looked away from the disturbance. Could this film have been less violent? Yes, but the violence does show audiences about life at that time. Despite how horrific many scenes are, they are portrayed so well, leaving in shock, horror and a bit of a stomach pain. But this is what the director wanted, he wanted these reactions and feelings.
Every major actor and actress in this film did a great job in their roles. You really could feel the characters’ love, happiness, sadness and anger. This film is quite tragic in many ways. Many people and some horses do die and some very disturbingly, so watch with caution. You get to see how native Americans were treated and you really sympathize with them. To see the mistreatment of these people is awful to watch and hear, but it’s beneficial for the story. You learn how people were killed and abused just for being of a different ethnicity. It was the native Americans’ land first and the Europeans did everything they could to conquer it for themselves.
Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike are outstanding, portraying their characters so realistically, you forget they are actually British actors. Ben Foster plays his usual Bad guy, but does it very well. Stephen Lang, although his role isn’t very big, does a good, not great job as Colonel Abraham Biggs. Wes Studi is great as Chief Yellow Hawk, although this his usual Native American role. Jesse Plemons, whose character doesn’t speak much, is just okay. Maybe if he had more lines, he would have been better. I can’t say much of Timothee Chalamet as Private Philipe DeJardin, I can’t recall him actually saying a single word in the entire film, which is a bummer because he is an excellent actor. The director should have thought more on Plemons’ and Chalamet’s roles and given Chalamet lines and Plemons a bigger role, because Jesse is a superb actor as well. All of the smaller roles of the native Americans, good and bad, were exceptional.
Overall, this a fine Western compared to the classics (GBU, High Noon etc.). It is not one I could watch over and over like I could one with Clint Eastwood, but it is still one to watch for any Western fan. 18+ 4/5