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Film Review: 'Hostiles' Has All Prerequisites of Great Film

by Todd A. Smith


“Hostiles” is a production from Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios (Photo Credit: Lorey Sebastian/Yellow Hawk, Inc.).



Checking All the Boxes 


Very seldom does a historical drama check all of the cinematic and historical boxes and get a movie correct.

Historically accurate? Check.

Emotionally accurate? Check.

Visually accurate? Check.

Excellent movie?  Bigger check!

The historical drama/western “Hostiles,” which is set in 1892 checks all of the aforementioned boxes and then some and should garner Academy Award buzz for the entire picture and for members of the superb cast.

Furthermore, “Hostiles” shows the tension and hatred the existed amongst White Americans and Native Americans, and the rivalries and stereotypes that existed amongst various Native American tribes.

But it also shows the humanity that exists between all people if people were to just ignore racist stereotypes and actually interact with people from different cultures or ethnic groups.

Christian Bale (“The Big Short”) plays Captain Joseph J. Blocker, a military veteran who is desperately looking forward to retirement from the military.

Like many soldiers of the day, the military has changed him, turning him into a killer just to survive.

Blocker’s battles with the Native Americans has created a hatred for the true natives of America, so when his superior gives him the task of transferring an Indian chief, Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) back to his homeland of Valley of the Bears, Mont., the captain initially refuses.

But when his retirement checks are put into question if he refuses the assignment, Blocker reluctantly agrees to the mission, which is being covered by national media members who are becoming critical of how White Americans are treating Native Americans.

As any historical book about the struggles of Native Americans versus their White counterparts will attest, traveling across country was a treacherous journey in the 1800s.

At anytime, travelers could be attacked by various Native American groups and scalped as souvenirs.

Even at one’s home, various tribes could attack a family and their families could get killed like Rosalie Quaid’s family (Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”).

Chief Yellow Hawk, who is dying of cancer, wants to be buried in Montana with his family by his side.

Blocker just wants to retire in peace.

And Mrs. Quaid desperately wants her family back.

When all three cross paths, the trip from New Mexico to Montana becomes extremely interesting to say the least.

Actually, to say “Hostiles” checks all of the boxes for a good historical drama is a bit of an understatement.

And to say that “Hostiles” will check boxes for various movie genre fans is not hyperbole.

The film is an excellent western.

The film is an excellent drama.

The film is an excellent action film because of the fighting.

The film is excellent in its portrayal of the family dynamic.

And the film has elements of a budding romance as well.

If only filmmaker Scott Cooper would have shown audiences more of what happened to the people after the journey to Montana was totally complete, “Hostiles” might have gone from excellent to masterpiece.

Regardless, “Hostiles” might soon start checking off Academy Award nomination boxes, like Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Actor.








This article was published on Friday 29 December, 2017.
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