"Hostiles" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 03/16/20
A retiring cavalry captain grudgingly escorts an old enemy to his ancestral burial grounds to die, encountering a traumatized woman who is the only survivor of a Comanche raiding party along the way.
Hostiles is a western in the grand tradition of the John Ford horse opera of old – in fact it is very easy to imagine John Wayne, Lee Marvin and Anthony Quinn as the male leads. The classic theme of the passing of the old west is the meat of the story, although in this case it is given a slightly different spin; these old war horses must come to terms with the brutality of their past, looking past the rationalisation of “only following orders”. Ingrained bigotries are exposed once they come to realise that their enemies are not so different from themselves and no race, creed or colour has a monopoly on cruelty and evil deeds. As ever with this type of story it does occasionally feel a little contrived – the journey as a whole seems like a litany of misery – but the analogy is sound and the strong performances, particularly from Christian Bale who is all furrowed brow and moustache, make for compelling viewing.
Hostiles has all of the ingredients that make for a quality old school western and fans of John Ford and Anthony Mann will find plenty to enjoy.