In the beginning of the film in Scott Cooper's Western in which a man is shot and killed in front of his two screaming children and swaddled baby are killed. In front of their mother Rosalie Quaid — a character performed by Rosamund Pike who displays a weird kind of brittle power (at at least, after the mind-scrambling the trauma subsides). It's not easy for Rosalie and the audience following the scene.
The Quaid family is slain by a terrifyingly painted face of Native Americans (specifically Comanches). Then, just moments afterward, we see Native Americans (specifically Apaches) being assaulted by American soldiers, led by one Joe Blocker (Bale) -A man who compares his frightened enemy with "ants". He's also the supposed protagonist in this dark story.
One of the most impressive moments of his career.
Hostiles is one of those films that is true the title. There is violence everywhere in Cooper's latest flurry of hostile Americana that is equally sexy as the perpetrators who commit it are discriminatory. After tackling the gangster genre in his previous movie Black Mass, Cooper's moved straight to his most powerfully mythic landscape by identifying its greatest moment: the culmination of what's known as the Indian Wars and the fading of the fanciful and romanticized American Frontier. In many ways, it's like a modernization of Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales, but this West is seen from the contemporary viewpoint in the wake of Black Lives Matter, Trump and the spree killings, not Vietnam as well as Watergate.
Bale's Walker is not an outlaw also. At the very least his crimes were committed to serve his country. The country that now demands Walker to securely accompany to the chief of one of his most feared foes, Cheyenne chief Yellow Hawk (Studi) in his home in Wyoming. Walker is a fierce opponent as armor, and it's helped keep him alive for so long. For him, Yellow Hawk is nothing more than "a cut-throat" and his daughter, son as well as his daughter-in law and grandson are the "brood of booze and smoochers". The mission is a punch on the face of the same superiors who's previous instructions harmed him or at the very least, caused him with what today is often referred to as PTSD. However, being the ever-good soldier Blocker takes on his task. As in Eastwood's masterpiece, the struggles of the trek will bring the ever-shrinking group of cavalrymen as well as Native Americans closer together. It's the melting pot of an unrelated family that was formed through the horrors of war and driven by pure survival instinct.
In spite of the violence and brutality Cooper's most beautiful film and cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi soaking in the stunning landscapes that enticed many Western shooters before his time. The stunning scenery slowly increases changing from the barren, stormy scrublands to lush, beautiful mountains as the film moves on and the human touch is absorbed back into the locked Blocker. Bale's mastery of the transformation -as part redemption, and part recoveryis one of the most impressive performance of his professional career. Cooper has worked with Cooper previously, most recently in 2013,'s Out Of The Furnace, but here , you can see the fruit of their collaboration. Extremely tough, bittersweet fruit.