Hostiles will make you mad! Perhaps though it's because of the excellent job Director Scott Cooper (2015's Black Mass) does in taking us back to a time when Native American's were considered "savages" and where the hatred by American soldiers for them was considered heroic. Christian Bale also plays a character filled with hate for the natives, who's land and way of life was taken from them by settlers who took over their land when they moved out west.
It's a movie that is hard to enjoy, because of the cruelty shown to Native Americans, but if you can stomach the harsh treatment it's a history lesson that deserves to be seen.
The cinematography in the movie is stunning and the actors deliver excellent performances. Christian Bale plays a retiring soldier who has one last mission; to escort an old Indian chief, and his family, home to die in peace after serving an extended sentence in an army camp. Bales character, Captain Blocker, hates Indians so much that he considers a court martial rather than obeying his final order. He finally consents and the Indian chief gets an army escort home.
Out n the trail Blocker (Bale) does everything he can to demean the tribe leader. However, Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) keeps his dignity under every circumstance he's forced to endure. Along the way the travelers find a woman whose entire family was killed by Indians and she joins the group. Her hatred for Indians, who have just killed her husband and children, matches that of Captain Blocker.
In the end the movie is about dignity. Again, while it's a hard movie to watch, it delivers an excellent message. Christian Bale carries the film with an excellent performance; however, no other actors have much in the way of character development. I would have like more perspective from the Native American characters.
The movie is rated "R" for violence and has a run time of 2 hours and 13 minutes. It's showing now in limited release and opens nationwide on January 19th. On my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" I rate Hostiles a MEDIUM.