Well, I cried three times Saturday morning. At a Western movie. And, full disclosure, I put off seeing this movie for a long time because I heard mixed reviews: "It's too slow," "It's too PC," and I dreaded seeing it (it felt like homework, I had to go so see it, BUT. . .), and I am so tired of slow, PC Westerns. Turns out I had bad intel.
As we walked out of the theater, Kathy said to me, "Well, if you ask me, that is the most emotional Western that has ever been filmed." She's right. I got tears in my eyes at least three times—in a Western! True, it was slow in parts and not perfect, but it really takes the genre to a new level, emotionally.
And, for the record, it's not overly PC, it show Comanches being "like rattlesnakes," according to the Wes Studi character. And Christian Bale is absolutely fearless as a hard bitten, racist warrior. My only disappointment was that my favorite bad guy, Ben Foster, didn't get more screen time. He is just the best at playing unhinged characters and he got one here.
Last night I emailed our Westerns editor, Henry Parke and asked him about how "Hostiles" came into being. Here is his reply:
"The genesis of Hostiles was an unpublished manuscript by Oscar-winning screenwriter (for 1982's MISSING) Donald E. Stewart. Stewart died back in 1999, and if I remember correctly, his widow showed the manuscript to Scott Cooper."
Here is Henry's review of the film.