Hostiles is Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Black Mass) latest epic film, set in the late 1800s.  Christian Bale plays plays legendary Calvary Captain Joe Blocker, is charged with taking Chief YellowHawk, (Wes Studi) one of his bitter rivals, back to his territory so he can die on his tribal land after being held captive for 7 years.

Joe, a hardened officer with years of battling the savages, speaks the language and knows the territory better than anyone else so he’s told he has to lead the mission.  He and YellowHawk, both bitter rivals, have to learn to co exist while seeing this mission through.

This movie deals with very modern ideas that have haunted soldiers since the first soldier picked up a sword:  how many people can you kill before you loose yourself?  PTSD, depression, suicide, and desertion are all dealt with by almost every character in this movie at some point or the other.  Instead of showing how adventurous the Old West was, it shows just how brutal and futile life was back then.

What I liked about this film was the fact that it showed how devastating life can be, and that war is not glorious for either sides.  Hollywood’s portrayed that far too much so it was surprising but refreshing when showed just how traumatic these events actually are on people.  The acting was phenomenal.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Christian Bale isn’t nominated for Best Actor, and Wes Studi is nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  Rosamund Pike gives an outstanding performance as a woman recently widowed by an Comanche attack that killed her husband and three children.  The journey she and Joe go on to overcome their hatred and grief is moving and authentic to the characters.  Adam Beach is Black Hawk, Yellow Hawk’s son, and while he doesn’t have a lot of lines, his presence is definitely felt through the movie.

The film punches you in the gut from the opening sequence and never lets up.  There’s lots of action, but lots of scenes where you put yourself in these men and women’s shoes and think, “What would happen to me if I were in their positions?” “Would I be honorable?  How far would I go to survive?”  The movie forces you to think about how you would be affected and makes you feel for the characters, even ones you want to hate.  It’s about learning to be empathetic and seeing the other side.  The film is definitely worth seeing on the big screen as a lot of the shots are so epic and big you wouldn’t get the same effect if you wait for it to come out on dvd or digital.

Do yourself a favor and go see Hostiles as soon as possible.  When you do, be sure to comment what you think of it and let’s discuss.