Hostiles is a violent western which stars Christian Bale as an army captain and Rosemund Pike as the woman he saves from Comanche Indians.
To start on a positive note, it’s worth saying that Hostiles has one of the best opening sequences I’ve seen in the last few years. Gritty, aggressive, and superbly acted, it will stick with you long after the credits roll.
However, everything else which occurs is utterly forgettable and regrettably haphazard. Hostiles lacks any kind of narrative cohesion and is void of a traditional three act structure, creating an experience which drags on relentlessly. There’s nothing to get invested in and the characters are seemingly incapable of having meaningful conversations unless said conversations are one-on-one, making interactions feel contrived and destroying any kind of emotional investment which the audience might feel for the characters.
The performances aren’t particularly bad, Christian Bale is fine and the majority of the cast do their jobs serviceably, but Rosemund Pike is guilty of some serious overacting and Rory Cochrane mumbles his way through his lines to such an extent that I didn’t understand a word he said.
I don’t want to be too harsh on this film because it does a lot of things well – the cinematography is good and the score works until the tension dissipates – but I defy anyone to enjoy it from start to finish. There’s nothing tying it together, the story doesn’t flow, and in truth I was praying for it to finish well before it finally limped to its conclusion.