Release Year: 2017
Director: Scott Cooper
Writers: Scott Cooper (screenplay), Donald E. Stewart (based on his screenplay)
Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Rory Cochrane, Jonathan Majors, John Benjamin Hockey, Stafford Douglas, Stephen Lang, Timothée Chalamet, Peter Mullan, Robyn Malcolm, Adam Beach, Jesse Plemons, Ben Foster
In 1892, a veteran Army Captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory. Along the way.
Hostiles is the fourth film by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, 2009), a director whose films are usually quite dark. This is no exception. The film begins with a brutal Comanche attack and one can be forgiven for thinking that this will be another overly violent and grim contemporary western, but what unfolds over the course of the next two hours is actually a beautifully shot and well acted tale of grief, war & peace, faith, and redemption. It also deserves kudos for dealing with the plight of the natives and the frontier people without ever becoming preachy. Bale (American Hustle, 2013) is as always impressive and the somewhat underrated Pike (Gone Girl, 2014) is quite impressive as well. I think the less said about what happens along the way the better, it is enough to say that against expectation the film offers a glimt of hope at the end of a somewhat dark tale. It does drag its feet slightly from time to time, but it has many memorable moments that will linger in your mind – in a good way. Highly recommended, but only to fans of slow-burning westerns.
The widow of screenwriter Donald E. Stewart found the manuscript when moving house. Stewart, who had died in 1999 had not shipped the manuscript to any studios and after seeing Crazy Heart (2009) and Out of the Furnace (2013), his widow felt that Scott Cooper would be the best man to bring the script to the screen.
Picture Copyright: Nordisk Film