During the 60’s and 70’s, western movies were considered one of Hollywood’s most popular genres. Today, filmmakers, movie-goers and even western veteran, Clint Eastwood, have abandoned the great cinematic tales of cowboys, gunslingers, and Native Americans in the Wild West. Director and producer, Scott Cooper, brings Hostiles to honour the Western legacy.
Set in the 1890’s, Hostiles depicts the arduous journey of a prison escort from an isolated New Mexico Army outpost, Fort Berringer, to the Cheyenne tribal grasslands of Montana. Christian Bale portrays Captain Joseph Blocker, a former Army Captain, now prison officer, who has both witnessed and inflicted horrible brutality in the wars against the Indians.
Captain Blocker has been ordered by his superiors to escort a prisoner, Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), a Northern Cheyenne war chief, and his family back to their homeland. The Chief is being released as he is dying of cancer and upon his death, his family will be imprisoned on a reservation. However, Blocker has no sympathy for the Chief, as he despises him for murdering several of his friends in earlier battles.
To survive the harrowing 1,000-mile long journey, they are compelled to join forces to overcome the punishing landscape, hostile Comanche tribes, and vicious outlaws that they encounter. Along the way, they stumble upon a young, traumatised mother (played by Rosamund Pike), a sole survivor of a brutal Comanche massacre in which her family was killed. With no other options available to the young mother, she reluctantly joins the group.
In time, both the Captain and the Chief begin to transform their antagonism and fear of each other into compassion and tolerance. Hostiles is a true testament to the resilience of the human spirit and its capacity for change. The film released on February 16, and if you are yearning for a good western, this is a must-see.