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Disillusioned northern officer Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) and fatally ill Cheyenne chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) form an involuntary team in Scott Cooper‘s late Western.


Northern officer Joseph J. Blocker, Cheyenne chief Yellow Hawk, and a handful other men make their way in the darkness to a camp of a few outlaws who they plan on surprising and killing. The camera stays outside, only the sound design conveys the killing.

HOSTILES is set in 1892, when the “wild west“ was going through a radical transitional phase. The railway, large landowners, and capitalism are booming. Oil is the new gold, bills aren‘t paid with lead anymore. The disillusioned, grumpy officer Blocker, played by Christian Bale, is about to retire. His presumably last order is to escort the fatally ill Cheyenne chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) to his tribal land in Montana after years of imprisonment. Blocker isn‘t happy about doing it. There are too many bloody battles that connect the highly decorated officer and the proud Cheyenne. On the way the soldiers and the chief‘s family pick up traumatised Rosalie (Rosamund Pike), whose husband and children were scalped by Comanche shortly before in a brutal sequence.

Screenwriter and director Scott Cooper (CRAZY HEART) stages the melancholy material in a very calm and sober manner with a subtle, emotional score by Max Richter and images by Masanobu Takayanagi (THE GREY). Cooper also keeps things tense: there could be an attack from outside at any time, the travel group could implode at any minute, no one‘s life is safe.

In a Sam Pekinpah film or an Italian western someone like Blocker would not have survived. Cooper depicts the hatred but also presents a possibility for something else with a comforting hug and a late concilliatory gesture.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Hostiles
USA 2017, 127 min
Genre: Western, Drama, Adventure
Director: Scott Cooper
Author: Scott Cooper, Donald Stewart
DOP: Masanobu Takayanagi
Montage: Tom Cross
Music: Max Richter
Distributor: Universum Film
Cast: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, Jesse Plemons
FSK: 16
Release: 31.05.2018


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