Cogill Reviews: “Hostiles”

For more of Gary’s insight into the best films of the year, with a few perfect pairings, join us March 1, 2018 at Studio Movie Grill, Royal Lane for “Wine and Film, A Preview of the 90th Annual Academy Awards.” Get your tickets now, here.

Originally published in “West Hawaii Today,” February 1, 2018.

Watching the highly disturbing opening scene in, “Hostiles,” is an invitation to an important dialogue between the audience and the film that begs the question, “why do we treat each other so horribly?” The sequence is an obvious homage to John Ford’s “The Searchers.”

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, American Hustle) plays a soft spoken, Indian killing, Army Captain in 1892 New Mexico, ordered to escort a War Chief and his family safely back to Montana. An order that will test the Captain’s character and decency.

Along they way, they rescue a grieving widow played Oscar- caliber by Rosamund Pike (Pride And Prejudice, Gone Girl) who has lost her family and joins the caravan. This is the British actresses finest work on film.

It’s a remarkable slow burning road trip filled with inward and outward rage along and a strong dose of Western genre as the military man deals with his own rage, the widow deals with her rage, and the Indian Chief, played-well by Wes Studi (Last Of The Mohicans, Heat), deals with his hatred of the white man.

“Hostiles” is written and directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Black Mass) and every frame of his movie feels and smells authentic. Look for Ben Foster (Hell or High Water) in a supporting role who speaks the line, “I never laid hands on anybody who didn’t deserve it,” and Adam Beach as “Black Hawk.”

These are tough men and women in a tough film that says PTSD was as relevant in the 1800’s wild west as it is today. It comes from all angles, all people, all generations in, “Hostiles,” and there are not a lot of answers, mostly survival.

And then there’s the tenderness, which makes it all worthwhile. It happens briefly and thoughtfully in “Hostiles,” and is an unexpected upgrade to a dark and disturbing film.

“Hostiles” is rated a difficult R, and is well worth the price of a ticket.

  • Gary Cogill

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