Hostiles (Scott Cooper)
A+ - This was my last screening, and the best film I saw at TIFF. Hostiles is a western about Christian Bale whose final military assignment is to escort an infamous chief (Wes Studi) back to his homeland in Wyoming after being released from military custody by President Benjamin Harrison. This isn't a very action packed western; it's definitely more of a slow burn. I think some might criticize the pacing as disjointed, but I thought the film worked well in showing how Christian Bale's philosophy evolves over the course of the journey. Bale is excellent, especially how he demonstrates his character's changing views without being obvious about it. I've seen some reviews that criticize the film as just showing Native Americans as only either bloodthirsty villains or noble sages. While the Comanche villains are definitely one-note, I would disagree that Studi and his character's family are entirely noble, particularly
in the way Studi and his son brutally murder the Comanches.
I actually find them to just be an ordinary family trying to go home, and the film is better for that.
This is one of my favorite films of 2017 (assuming it doesn't get released in 2018), but I don't think it will be an audience favorite. It's just too brutal at times. Hopefully Bale will get some recognition though. And it has, in my view, a subtle yet wonderful final shot that adds a tinge of hope to the whole ordeal.
I have a lot more to say about this one, but I'll probably wait to see if others see it, and write about it, since I still can't organize all of my thoughts yet.