I don’t think we’re ever going to see a Western that’s not bleak again; it just wouldn’t be taken seriously. We’ve had an influx of de-romanticised frowny-face examples of America’s Favourite Genre over the last few years (this is my favourite for the record) but HOSTILES easily keeps apace. It has jaw-dropping scenery, nuanced characterisation and perhaps the most upsetting opening scene in the genre’s history. Aside from the misjudged BLACK MASS, I really rate actor-turned-director Scott Cooper’s work; he does atmosphere well and coaxes another intense, emotionally raw performance from Christian Bale and perhaps a career-best turn from Rosamund Pike. I’m not sure the stop-start-stop-start structure of this (already long) story – as the army escort changes party members at prearranged point in their journey – always works, but by the end of Hostiles you’ll really feel like you’ve been through the trials and tribulations of the characters. SSP
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I'm not paid to write about film - I do it because I love it. Favourites include Sam Mendes, Guillermo del Toro, Bong Joon-ho, Steven Spielberg, Danny Boyle, Edgar Wright, Taika Waititi and the Coen Brothers. All reviews and articles are original works owned by me. They represent one man's opinion, and I'm more than happy to engage in civilised debate if you disagree.
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