Posted Jan 03 2018
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Hostiles - This Bleak Western Rocks

Dir: Scott Copper

Starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons, Bill Camp

Christian Bale quietly impresses in his re-teaming with Out Of The Furnace director Cooper. Indeed, this elegant western impresses in general with its meditative flow and brooding manner.

Bale is the legendary army captain and former injun killer, working through his own PTSD demons as he’s reluctantly tasked with facing up to the slowly changing face of the evolving American west by guarding a dying Wes Studi and his family as they travel back to their native land. Needless to say, the journey reveals all manner of both hostiles and hostilities on all fronts, with Rosamund Pike’s frontierswoman – recently brutally separated from her husband, along for the ride back to so-called civilisation.

Pitched firmly in the post 1970s revisionist view of the classic genre/mthology – but with a firm knowledge of the look and feel of John Ford and the like – Cooper’s film moves subtly through its own parched landscape, focusing on tensions within and without, as well as slowly leading to some cathartic form of mutual understanding. Bale is darkly captivating, slowly revealing more and more of a man who is in turn slowly trying to open himself up to both new people and a new world. Pike meanwhile strikes a strong balance as a woman fighting to restrain her vulnerability whilst trying to embrace the new-found strength this hard life has thrust upon her.

The journey may be arduous and the terrain often barren and unwelcoming, but the people within it are certainly fascinating and worth spending time with.

 

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