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)
There are certain movies that appear to be destined for greatness and Out of the Furnace looked like one of them.
Christian Bale is one of the most versatile actors of our time. I’ve been a fan of his ever since I watched Newsies (1992) for the first when I was a little kid. Bale has become such a great actor that I eagerly await all of his new movies. Out of the Furnace especially sparked my interest after I learned how many other big names are in the cast.
Russell Baze (Christian Bale) goes looking for his younger brother, Rodney, (Casey Affleck) after he goes missing. Russell will stop at nothing to get his brother back and release his own form of justice on whoever is responsible for taking him.
As the title suggests, the movie is rough and only gets more severe. It’s out of the furnace and into the fire. The title did, in fact, suit the film quite well. The movie was injected with pain and anger. Eventually the intensity boiled over and the film sizzled. Out of the Furnace stirs up the emotions and lights them on fire. It’s easily the most powerful movie of the year.
Christian Bale does not cease to impress. Nobody could have done a better job in his role, and the only thing better than Bale’s performance was the fact that the rest of the film was filled to the brim with extraordinary talent working alongside him. The entire cast was firing on all cylinders.
This movie is not for anyone with a weak stomach. The violence is brutal and the language is harsh. The filmmakers’ gloves came off in order to make a film so sharp that the jagged edges will cut into your mind and all sorts of emotions will come leaking out. Out of the Furnace will stick with you long after it ends.
The movie deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award in just about every category available. It gets my vote for Best Picture of the Year and Bale deserves the Best Actor award, hands down.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked Out of the Furnace, then you will probably enjoy the following films:
Out of the Furnace (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
A Man (Christian Bale) goes looking for his younger brother (Casey Affleck) after he goes missing. He will stop at nothing to get his brother back and release his own form of justice on whoever is responsible for taking him.
The film is directed by Scott Cooper. Who is Scott Cooper? I had to look him up too. The only other movie that Cooper directed is Crazy Heart (2009). Jeff Bridges won an Academy Award for Best Actor for Crazy Heart. Cooper has received a lot of critical acclaim for that film. It appears like Cooper just might have another Oscar contender on his hands with this new film Out of the Furnace.
If you get a group of actors like that together to make a movie, it’s hard to expect anything less than excellence.
The film is set to release on 12/06/13.
I’ll be in the theatre in December to let you know if this film meets my expectations.