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Hostiles (2017)


Hostiles (2017)

I’m a big fan of the Western genre if it’s done right.  Christian Bale does not often disappoint.  So, naturally I was pretty excited to see this movie.

The film takes place in 1892.  It is about an army captain (Christian Bale) who is ordered to gather his men and transport a notorious Cheyenne Chief and his family back to their home land.  Along the way, they clash with a group of Apaches.

The film was written and directed by Scott Cooper.  The noteworthy cast includes Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Jesse Plemons, Ben Foster, Stephen Lang, Scott Wilson, Q’orianka Kilcher, Tanaya Beatty, David Midthunder, Rory Cochrane, and Peter Mullan.

This is the second time that Cooper has directed Bale.  The first time being in the film Out of the Furnace (2013).  Cooper also previously directed Jesse Plemons and Rory Cochrane in Black Mass (2015).  This is the second western that Christian Bale and Ben Foster have been in together.  The first one was 3:10 to Yuma (2007).  Ben Foster and Jesse Plemons were also in the movie The Program (2015) together.

Hostiles does an excellent job recreating the late 1800s in the “Old West.”  The set and costume design are spot on.

The film swiftly grasps your focus like a gut-wrenching kick to the stomach.  It knocks the wind out of you before slowing down to allow the story to unfold.  Like most Westerns, Hostiles runs at a slower pace.  The movie pauses to allow you to take in its surroundings.  The soundtrack and scenery contribute nicely to the overall dark tone of the film.  The characters are permitted to develop naturally as the actors are able to take their time to actually act.  Nothing is rushed.  The precision in the details makes the movie feel convincingly more real.

It’s a breath of fresh air to watch a movie, in this day and age, that doesn’t solely rely on special effects and action to tell the story while leaving acting and writing in the back seat.  Occasionally, Hostiles does feel a little slow, but I think that is just because of all the fast paced action that we are used to Hollywood throwing at us.  In this case, the longer the film goes on, the more you appreciate it for what it is.

Bale imposed his will upon this film with an eerie presence.  The presence of a war-torn honorable man who had been dragged through hell and forced to do terrible things to survive.  His acting is impeccable and he is allowed to shine in Hostiles.

Rosamund Pike gave a good performance.  She was not treated like a set decoration like so many actresses are, these days.

This film is unique because the characters seem to be put in situations where they react more to their environment.  The rough road that they are on can be seen in the actors’ eyes and felt on screen.

I do feel like some of the actors in this film were not used enough.  However, at the pace that the film travels, it could’ve been a much longer road had they not cut their time short.  I can see how this might have taken away from the story.  So, I like the direction that it ultimately went.

Overall, Hostiles is a darker, worthwhile Western with substance.  Christian Bale carries the film, but it’s obvious that Scott Cooper wanted it that way.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you enjoyed Hostiles, you might also like:

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

The Revenant (2015)

Dances with Wolves (1990)

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

Out of the Furnace (2013)

 

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Lone Survivor (2013)


Lone Survivor Poster

Lone Survivor (2013)

 

You will laugh, and you will cry.  They live, they fight, and they die.

I was very excited to see Lone Survivor.  When I learned of the movie months ago, I knew it would be one that I had to see.  Recently, I heard from numerous people that the film was amazing, and that just made me want to see it more.  These days, if Mark Wahlberg is in a movie, you can basically expect gold.

Film Title: Lone Survivor

The film is based on the book with the same title which was written by Marcus Luttrell and is based on his true story.  It’s about a group of Navy SEALS on a covert operation in Afghanistan that goes horribly wrong.  Four SEALS are left severely outnumbered and outgunned and behind enemy lines.  Unable to make radio contact, they are forced to stand together as one and try desperately to fight the local Taliban for their survival.

The movie was directed by Peter Berg and the noteworthy cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Yousif Azami, Ali Suliman, Alexander Ludwig, and Jerry Ferrara.

I had vaguely heard of the mission that was portrayed in Lone Survivor, but ultimately, I hardly new any of the details before watching the film.  I’m not sure how much of the story went by the book, and what was fictionalized for pure entertainment purposes.  I have not read the book, but it would be interesting to see how it differs from the movie.

Lone Survivor is a superb depiction of the camaraderie and brotherhood that is commonly found in the Navy SEALS.  The actors walked the walk, and talked the talk.  They were large, bulky instruments that were trained to kill and trained to survive.  They fight like soldiers and they curse like soldiers.  This film does not edit itself for a lighter rating.  It’s as real as I’ve ever seen.  Prepare yourself to be shocked.

Lone Survivor Barracks

This movie has some of the most insanely realistic and severely intense battle scenes that I have ever seen in a film.  Although I knew that I was in a theatre watching a film, it was as if I was watching real footage of actual soldiers at war, and not actors pretending for a camera.

Lone Survivor is a trip into hostile territory.  The movie reminded me of how I felt about Saving Private Ryan (1998) when I saw it for the first time.  It’s an epic achievement.  The film changes the way that you look at the war movie genre.  It raises the bar and leaves huge shoes to fill for any future war movie.  It’s a game changer.  I have a feeling that this movie will be hard to beat for years to come.  The genre has now been reestablished.

The cast was a force to be reckoned with.  Everyone was awesome.  Wahlberg stood out above the rest and he continues to add to the arsenal of reasons why I like him.  He has become one of my favorite actors.  He is a consistent entertainer in the movie world and that is a rare thing in this day and age.

Lone Survivor Wahlberg

This movie should be an Oscar contender.  It would be a crime if it didn’t win something.  It would be an excellent way to honor all of the Navy SEALS that fought for their brothers standing next to them.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Note: Lone Survivor could deserve a higher rating, but it has to live up to the test of time before it gets one from me.

There was a bit of a disturbance in the densely populated theatre where I watched this film.  A man in the same row as mine was yelling obscenities during the first half of the movie.  He started to violently strike the seats in front of him before he was finally removed from the premises.  I was unable to give my full attention to the first part of the movie because of this distraction.  It was unfortunate, but when I watch the movie for a second time, my rating could possibly change.

Trailer for Lone Survivor (2013)


Lone Survivor Poster

Lone Survivor (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)

The film is directed by Peter Berg.  The noteworthy cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Ludwig, Jerry Ferrera, and Scott Elrod.

This cast in a film based on a true story about a NAVY SEAL operation gone bad.  What else is there for me to say?  I’ll see it.

The film is set to release on 12/27/13.