Hostiles (2018)

  • Gist: In 1892, a US Army captain who hates and has killed many Indians is ordered to escort a sick Indian chief from prison in New Mexico to die at home in western Montana. Lots of bad things happen along the way.
  • Descriptors: Scenic, Heavy-Handed, forced, bleak, manipulative, forced, whitewashed.
  • I cry all the time, at movies, books, TV shows, quotes, random memories. I didn’t feel so much as a twitch during this movie, mainly because for every one of 135 minutes it was screaming at me “Be sad! Be SAD, you heartless monster!!”
  • Christian Bale’s laconic, haunted vet has done unspecified cruelties, but the worst I see him do is be rude. On screen, he’s nearly always kind, which makes the redemption arc fall flat. Same goes for his forced counterpart, Wes Studi’s Chief Yellowhawk.
  • Forced plot points: I lost count of the irrational decisions and illogical circumstances that merely serve to push the plot along!

Conclusion: I would love for more movies to explore honestly what Americans did to Native Americans, but this one skips a stone on the surface, mostly mutes the Indians, and substitutes grief for substance.