Throughout their history, westerns have often been grim, gritty, and dicey on the racism front. All of which figures prominently into the trailer for Hostiles, the latest from Black Mass and Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper.
I really hope there’s more to Hostiles than the “we’re all savages” narrative—or the “we’re all Hostiles” tale as the trailer indicates. Too often that’s just a cheap way to get around people calling out your movie for being super racist—no, no, everyone’s bad! And it’s sure to be difficult to balance when the central character is obviously super racist, as we see in this trailer. So, who knows.
Reviews out of Telluride, where Hostiles debuted, are mixed on that front. Some say it relies too heavily on stereotypes where Native Americans are either vicious barbarians or wise mystics, while others indicate there’s more humanity nuance to be found. It’s 2017 and I want to believe more thought goes into things like this, but we all know that’s not always the case.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Set in 1892, Hostiles tells the story of a legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale), who after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to tribal lands. Making the harrowing and perilous journey from Fort Berringer, an isolated Army outpost in New Mexico, to the grasslands of Montana, the former rivals encounter a young widow (Rosamund Pike), whose family was murdered on the plains. Together, they must join forces to overcome the punishing landscape, hostile Comanche and vicious outliers that they encounter along the way.
Beyond Bale, Pike, and Studi, which a formidable trio, Hostiles also features Jesse Plemons, Stephen Lang, Adam Beach, Q’orianka Kilcher, Timothee Chalamet, and Ben Foster. This isn’t the first Foster/Bale western rodeo either, as they showed up in the 2007 3:10 to Yuma remake, which doesn’t get as much love as it should.
Filmed by Masanobu Takayanagi (The Grey, Warrior, Spotlight), Hostiles should provide a great deal to gawk at. The film hits New York and Los Angeles on December 22 and opens wide on January 19, 2018.