I can truly say that "Hostiles" by Scott Cooper is one of the best movie I've ever seen. Of course, we can not agreed on that, but to me it's the perfect combination of a plot that grows from the beginning to the end, despite the rhythm of the film which decrease progressively, a magnificent cast (Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike are perfect together), accurate dialogs and direction that balance action and poignant close up.
"Hostiles" is an homage to old good spaghetti western ambiance, but the meaning of the story is far from Sergio Leone's films. The settings, the camera direction is certainty guided by the aesthetic of westerns: it catches the beautiful limitless of the landscape between New Mexico and Montana. Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) is in charged of a special mission: trespass four states across United States to escort back home the old and sick Yellow Hawk, well-known Cheyenne chief.
The old and gold battle between native Americans and Americans: hate, contempt and violence has guided their relation. And this final journey, the last occasion they have to share to redeem themselves. This film is focused on last occasion: Captain Blocker is going to retire, his fellow friend is devastated by depression, the convicted criminal is marching towards is final sentence of death.
And, finally, Rosalie Quaid, a woman deprive of her own family by the aggressive Comanches, who finds a new strength, a new purpose, a new reason to live.
Are we all hostiles?
Says the trailer. Yes, we are it's the answer. But some of us are strong enough to know before judge. To open, before attack. And to distinguish what is mandatory by role and what is true by personal attitude. The moral and social theme is powerful: if you struggle for life with your worst enemy antagonism disappear. The undeniable call to survive is stronger and more meaningful than hate.
Culture is Julius Ceasar. Christian Bale portrays a solitary man, devoted to the cause because he's trapped into its maze. He has no respect at all for what he's asked to do: he recognizes the duty and try to find a reason behind the cruel and inhuman gestures. Still, in a world far from big cities, in a life that gives you lemons (first scene he bite suck a lemon), he can find relief reading an unexpected book from ancient time.
No matter if the world around you is collapsing, there's a safe place
where you can still be yourself and pursue satisfaction.
Unbearable pain and respectful fondness. You won't be disappointed by the choice of having a widow and a solitary man sharing the journey and, occasionally, a tent. There's no violation of respect towards the audience. I personally find too much easy to use love, compassion and passion to let submerge the humanity of a character. Christian Bale does all of that standing still in front of a widow pain (when she scratch the hard soil with her bare hands) and showing the highest level of respect.
"Hostiles" is a gem in filmography. Look closely to the story, watch characters encouraging themselves to be better, follow how their interaction changes along the way to Montana.
Learn respect, appreciate constance, believe in humanity.
Ps. are you a bibliophile?