Was unsure about it.
Honestly, I wanted to see 15:17 to Paris yesterday, but it was not playing at the time I wanted to go, so I ended up seeing Hostiles, starring Christian Bale and an absolutely outstanding supporting cast. Needless to say from the title of this post, I was happy with the movie I saw. (Even though I do plan to see 15:17 as well, very soon!)
The story of Hostiles.
It’s about an army officer, Captain Joseph Blocker (Bale), who is given one final task before retirement: to escort Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk from a prison in New Mexico back to his homelands in Montana, where he can die from his advanced cancer. Not only is the captain hesitant, but, he once witnessed the brutal killing of three of his men at the hands of Yellow Hawk, and wishes no good to ever come to him because of it. But there is a presidential order that cannot be refused, and with his pension on the line, Captain Blocker reluctantly agrees to provide safe passage to Yellow Hawk and his family.
Surrounding that main story line, there is a woman, Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike) who lost her husband and three children in a Comanche attack on their farm, and, once Capt. Blocker and his group set out toward Montana, they come upon Mrs. Quaid, who took refuge with her three dead children in the burned-out remains of her farm. Her husband had been killed, scalped, and left lying in the front of the house.
Now with a second and unwanted charge to worry about, Capt. Blocker must navigate through very hostile Comanche territory with his men, Mrs. Quaid, Chief Yellow Hawk and four members of the Chief’s family. They are attacked by Comanches, and receive surprise help from the Chief and his son, Black Hawk. This is when the story takes a surprising and deeply moving turn.
War is ugly no matter what.
I once read that by the end of any war, no one really remembers what the fighting was all about, and no one really feels like a winner. I think that that’s true, and it can clearly be seen in the movie Hostiles.
The goodness of the Cheyenne people comes shining through time and time again, and before the story was over, I grew to respect and admire Chief Yellow Hawk for being a man of dignity and honor that is not often seen in this world. Captain Blocker himself, also by the end of the movie, comes to see these same traits. And, as a beautiful bonus, Blocker’s goodness also shines through, and his courage doesn’t waiver for a second. This too, is recognized and respected by the Cheyenne.
Humanity is what matters most.
Sitting there in the audience, I became so engrossed in the story of Hostiles that I felt an affinity to both the Americans, and the Native Americans. Somewhere along the way the line between blurred in the best ways, and it was much more important to be a good person and an honorable human being than anything else. That, is surely how it should be.
The movie Hostiles is one of the finest movies I’ve ever seen. Possibly ever will. It’s simple and elegant, not overly violent and not filled with raging f-bombs and sex scenes put in to fill the gaps. It’s honest, gritty, doesn’t candy-coat anything, and at the same time shows sensitivity, tenderness and loyalty that springs from realizing that the person you once viewed as an “enemy” may actually be one of the best friends you will ever have.
Forget any so-so reviews you may have read. Just see this movie. You’ll see what I mean.
As a bit of trivia for any Walking Dead fans, Scott Wilson, who played the beloved Hershel, is also in Hostiles. His role is quite different, but it was still great to see him.