Once Upon a Time in the West: Hostiles
Hostiles is Standard Wild West Fare
The Western is a movie genre that is as old as the movies themselves, and throughout the decades ingenious filmmakers have found clever ways to twist the expectations of the genre. Scott Cooper's (Out of the Furnace, Black Mass) new film Hostiles plays at being a new take on Old West tropes, but the story is as standard as they come.
The film stars Christian Bale as a battle-hardened and bigoted Army captain who is tasked with escorting an old Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to his homeland in Montana. Along the way, their group meets a woman (Rosamund Pike) who has just lost her entire family to a Comanche attack and they help her back to civilization.
Hostiles tries hard to be a revisionist Western but while earlier examples of the sub-genre like The Wild Bunch, Unforgiven and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford all had interesting and revolutionary things to say about the Wild West and our relation to it, Hostiles has little to say beyond the cliché that "the American frontier was dangerous" — a theme that doesn't warrant the film's plodding 133 minute runtime. So if you're in the mood for a competently acted and directed Western with all the expected story progressions, then Hostiles would be a fine choice. If you're expecting something any deeper than that however, expect to be disappointed. — Forest Taylor
Written and directed by : Scott Cooper (based on the manuscript of Donald E. Stewart) // Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, Jesse Plemons, Adam Beach, Rory Cochrane, Q'orianka Kilcher, Jonathan Majors and Timothee Chalamet // 133 minutes