Hostiles is a 2017 American Western film written and directed by Scott Cooper, based on a story by Donald E. Stewart. It stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, Adam Beach, Q'orianka Kilcher, and Timothée Chalamet. It follows a U.S. Cavalry officer who must escort a Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their home in Montana in 1892.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Scott Cooper|
|Screenplay by||Scott Cooper|
|Story by||Donald E. Stewart|
|Music by||Max Richter|
|Edited by||Tom Cross|
|Distributed by||Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures|
|Box office||$35.6 million|
The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2017, and had a limited release in the United States by Entertainment Studios starting December 22, 2017, before going wide on January 26, 2018. It received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $35.6 million worldwide.
In 1892, settler Wesley Quaid and his family are attacked by a Comanche war group proceeding to kill and scalp him and to shoot his three children. Only his wife Rosalee manages to escape from the attack, hiding in a small rock outcrop in the forest.
In Fort Berringer, New Mexico, Captain Joseph Blocker rounds up an escaping Apache family and brings them back to the fort. He is then called to the office of Colonel Abraham Biggs, who informs him of his final orders before retirement, based on a directive from the President: escort dying Cheyenne war chief Yellow Hawk, along with his family, back to their tribal lands in Montana. Under threat of a court-martial and loss of his pension if he refuses to follow the orders, Blocker reluctantly accepts, despite his own gory history with the chief, who was responsible for the death of several of his friends and comrades. Blocker chooses the detail that will accompany him: his trusty old friend Sergeant Thomas Metz, long-time aide Corporal Woodson, and promising newcomer Lieutenant Kidder, fresh from West Point. Biggs also assigns to the detail a young French-speaking recruit, Private DeJardin.
They begin their journey but Blocker orders a stop and has the two native men put in chains. The group comes across the charred Quaid house and dead settler. Inside the house they find Rosalee and her three "sleeping" children. Rosalee is initially hostile towards the Cheyenne family because of the attack on her family but agrees to sleep in their camp after some coaxing from Blocker. She is convinced to bury her family and join Blocker's detail until their next stop-over. They are soon ambushed by the Comanche party, resulting in DeJardin's death and Woodson being seriously wounded. After this attack, Yellow Hawk convinces Blocker that it is in everyone's best interest to unchain him and his family. The next day, the bodies of the surviving Comanche party, who had managed to flee during their previous encounter, are discovered dead. Blocker deduces that Yellow Hawk and his son, Black Hawk, killed them thanks to Metz allowing them to leave the camp during the night.
After a brief stop at Fort Winslow in Colorado to drop off the wounded Woodson and Rosalee, Blocker is instructed to take disgraced Sergeant Charles Wills, who killed a family with an ax, to be court-martialed and hanged at a stop at his original post along the way to Montana. Joining Blocker’s company to oversee Wills are Corporal Tommy Thomas and Sergeant Malloy. Meanwhile, Rosalee decides to continue on with Blocker, despite being offered sanctuary at Fort Winslow until the next supply train at Christmas. One night, the women are abducted by three fur traders as they wash dishes in the stream by their camp. The company, assisted by Yellow Hawk and Black Hawk, manages to track down the fur traders and slaughter them to rescue the women; however, Sergeant Malloy is killed. During a downpour, Wills manages to fool Kidder into sympathetically undoing his chains, only to kill him and escape but not before Blocker shoots him. He is later tracked down by Metz, who then takes his own life, succumbing to decades of PTSD.
Blocker arrives with the dying chief at his tribal lands in Montana where he dies and is buried. The white landowner and his three sons arrive to the place as the chief is buried and threatens Blocker and the rest of the group for burying an Indian on his land. Blocker tells the landowner that the chief is not leaving the land. The confrontation results in a brutal gun battle killing Black Hawk, his wife Elk Woman, his sister Living Woman, and Corporal Tommy Thomas, while leaving alive only Blocker, Rosalee, and Black Hawk's young son, Little Bear. In the final scene, Rosalee and Little Bear reluctantly depart on a train from Montana to Chicago, without Blocker, but, at the last second, Blocker jumps on the back of the train.
- Christian Bale as Captain Joseph J. Blocker, a veteran of the Indian Wars, with a reputation of ruthless killer.
- Rosamund Pike as Rosalee Quaid, a suicidal widow who joins Blocker's detail after the murder of her family by Comanches.
- Wes Studi as Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk, an imprisoned and sickly war chief being taken home to die, and the father of Black Hawk and Living Woman.
- Jesse Plemons as Lieutenant Rudy Kidder, a fresh West Point graduate, part of the detail to escort Yellow Hawk home.
- Adam Beach as Black Hawk, Yellow Hawk's son and Elk Woman's husband.
- Rory Cochrane as Master Sergeant Thomas Metz, a war-weary veteran who is among Blocker's oldest friends, part of the detail to escort Yellow Hawk Home.
- Peter Mullan as Lieutenant Colonel Ross McCowan, commander of Fort Winslow, Colorado.
- Scott Wilson as Cyrus Lounde, the owner of Yellow Hawk's ancestral land.
- Paul Anderson as Corporal Tommy Thomas, a soldier from Fort Winslow escorting Wills to his hanging.
- Timothée Chalamet as Private Philippe DeJardin, the youngest member of the detail to escort Yellow Hawk Home.
- Ben Foster as Sergeant Charles Wills, a criminal soldier whom Blocker is charged of escorting to his hanging.
- Jonathan Majors as Corporal Henry Woodson, a soldier who served under Blocker since many years, part of the detail to escort Yellow Hawk Home.
- John Benjamin Hickey as Captain Royce Tolan, a soldier stationed at Fort Berringer alongside Blocker.
- Q'orianka Kilcher as Elk Woman, Black Hawk's wife.
- Tanaya Beatty as Living Woman, Black Hawk's sister.
- Stephen Lang as Colonel Abraham Biggs, Blocker's commanding officer
- Bill Camp as Jeremiah Wilks, frontier correspondent for Harper's Weekly.
- Scott Shepherd as Wesley Quaid, Rosalee's slaughtered husband.
- Ryan Bingham as Sergeant Malloy, a soldier from Fort Winslow escorting Wills to his hanging.
- Robyn Malcolm as Minnie McGowan, Colonel McCowan's wife.
- Xavier Horsechief as Little Bear, the young son of Black Hawk and Elk Woman.
The project was announced in February 2016 with Scott Cooper as the director and Christian Bale starring as the main character. In March, Rosamund Pike was cast, and a production start date of July was announced. In April, Jesse Plemons was added to the project as a member of the unit and his role was to escort the war chief home. Wes Studi and Adam Beach were signed in June. Studi played the dying war chief. In mid-July, Timothée Chalamet joined the film playing as Private Philippe DeJardin. Filming began late July in Santa Fe. Ben Foster, amongst others, were added to the cast at the beginning of the filming. Ryan Bingham, who also stars in the film, is writing original songs for the film. Max Richter compose the score for the film music including in the Score the Ryan Bingham's new song "How Shall A Sparrow Fly", and was released at Deutsche Grammophon.
The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2017. It was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2017. Shortly after, Entertainment Studios acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film. It was released in a limited release in the United States on December 22, 2017, before expanding wide a month later.
Hostiles grossed $29.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $5.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $35.6 million.
In the United States and Canada, following several weeks in a limited run where it grossed $1.8 million, Hostiles had its wide expansion alongside the release of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, and was expected to gross around $10 million from 2,813 theaters over the weekend. It ended up opening to $10.1 million, finishing third behind The Death Cure ($24.2 million) and holdover Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($16.1 million). In its second weekend the film dropped 49.5% to $5.1 million, finishing fifth at the box office.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 73% based on 180 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Hostiles benefits from stunning visuals and a solid central performance from Christian Bale, both of which help elevate its uneven story." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has an average score of 65 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an overall 72% positive score.
Following its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, Sasha Stone of TheWrap, wrote of the audiences' reaction to the film, saying, "Riveted by the glorious storytelling of Hostiles, a few Telluride audience members burst into spontaneous applause as it built to its conclusion". Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote praise of the film and of the performance of Christian Bale, concluding that the film is an "estimable piece of work grounded by a fine-grain sensibility and an expertly judged lead performance".
Most of the negative criticism of the movie is directed at its director Scott Cooper. William Bibbiani of IGN criticized Scott Cooper of wasting the talent of its actors and cinematographer in a "by-the-numbers storyline with a rather obvious message about how it’s harder to be despicable to people after you get to know them". He went on to say "Scott Cooper directs Hostiles with an eye for quote-unquote “greatness” but the actual material simply isn’t deep enough to justify the solemn presentation. It’s not entertaining, it’s not illuminating, it’s not even complicated. It’s mostly just a bummer".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||December 11, 2017||Best Costume Design||Jenny Eagan||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||June 2018||Best Action or Adventure Film||Hostiles||Pending|||
|Best Actress||Rosamund Pike||Pending|
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