Hostiles (2017)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Scott Cooper (Screenplay) Donald E Stewart (Manuscript)

Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Jesse Plemons, Stephen Land, Rory Cochrane

 

Plot: In 1892, a legendary Army Captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.


Tagline – We are all… Hostiles.

Runtime: 2 Hour 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Riddled Western

 

Story: Hostiles starts in 1892 when Army Captain Joseph J Block (Bale) is assigned to escort Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Studi) and his family back to their land so he can die in his home territory, he is reluctantly to do this mission because of his battles with the Cheyenne, but threaten with court martial, he puts a unit together including Master Sgt Thomas Metz (Cochrane), Corp Henry Woodson (Majors), Lt Rudy Kidder (Plemons) and others.

Along the way the party stumbles upon Rosalee Quaid (Pike) whose family was butchered by a tribe leaving her three children including a baby dead, Joseph offers to take her on the journey as she has nothing left. The journey will take them through dangerous territories where Joseph must learn that the battle between man isn’t as simple as he once thought it was.

 

Thoughts on Hostiles

 

Characters – Captain Joseph J Blocker is a legendary soldier that’s reputation is respected, he is assigned a mission he has no interest in, being forced to escort a Cheyenne Chief home or face consequences including losing his pension. He is the best translator and knows the best paths, making him the best man for the job which will see him face his toughest mission yet. Rosalee Quaid saw her whole family butchered by a tribe invading her home, broken she is alone until the party discover her and take her on the journey. She learns that not both sides of the party are evil, just the human kind. Chief Yellow Hawk is one of the leaders of the Native American people, he is known for his blood lust, but near his death bed he shows Joseph are not as evil as the people believe showing he is against some of the natives and their actions too. We do get to meet plenty of different soldiers with different opinions on the mission which only make things more difficult along the way.

PerformancesChristian Bale in the leading role is brilliant showing he can take on nearly any role, he has the permanent look of reluctance on his face while showing us he can make his character do the right thing. Rosamund Pike is wonderful too as the grief-stricken mother and widow that gets to learn to live again on the journey. Wes Studi continues to show us just how us just he is the go-to guy for any Native American character. The whole cast is great through the film without putting a place a foot wrong.

StoryThe story shows us how the two rivals through a war that must put their difference aside to go through dangerous territory where people from both sides can come to kill them. This story shows how the battles through America built divides that caused extreme behaviour and just how being more restrictive could be a smarter answer. The journey shows how the two sides learns to work together and that they do want the same thing in life and the blood shed isn’t the best answer. The pace is surprisingly great because it will never go too slow for the 2 and half hour runtime. We learn a lot about how to treat people here as we are nearly the same.

Adventure/WesternThe adventure takes the party across America which shows the different style of mindset across the country. The western themes are heavy through the film which brings back the old way of life in America.

SettingsThe settings look beautiful which show us how the countryside in America was one of the most amazingly visual location in the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Final Showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not fully understand the distance needed to be travelled.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good modern era western that shows the final few moments on the old west where differences needed to a side their problems to make the future.

 

Overall: Enjoyable western.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Random – B – Black Mass (2015)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth (Screenplay) Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill (Book)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane

 

Plot: The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Story: Black Mass starts as Kevin Weeks (Plemons) wants to give up his life of crime recounting his story of how he found himself working for Jimmy Whitey Bulger (Depp). Jimmy is the Irish crime boss expanding around South Boston whose brother is now a Senator Billy (Cumberbatch) who gets the information that FBI agent and old friend John Connolly (Edgerton) has been given the greenlight to bring down the Mafia who also own the street in South Boston.

We see how Jimmy makes a deal with Connolly to create an alliance with the FBI to take down the other gangs in South Boston with only his most loyal worker Stephen Flemmi (Cochrane) knowing the truth. With the freedom to build his empire Jimmy takes advantage of the FBI letting him run amuck through South Boston the rise of Whitey Bulger becomes clear.

 

Thoughts on Black Mass

 

Characters/PerformanceJimmy, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger whichever name you want to call him by is the ruthless gangster that lived and reigned in South Boston through the 70’s and 80’s, he is loyal to anyone he trusts but once you betray his trust he will kill you. He becomes an informant for the FBI and uses this to his advantage. John Connolly is the FBI agent that uses his connections in Boston to build his own reputation by making the deal with Jimmy to help him bring down the other gangs in Boston. Billy Bulger is the brother of Jimmy and a senator that keeps his brother’s connection away from his professional life. The rest of the characters are all the different parts of the story be it within the FBI or within Jimmy’s gang.

Performance wise, Johnny Depp gives one of his best performances in year but still doesn’t reach the levels we know he can do, Joel Edgerton continues to build his career to be creditable leading man with Cumberbatch making his presence know when needed, the rest of the performances are all good without being able to find a weak point in any of them.

StoryThe story of a notorious gangster is something we have seen before just replace the gangsters name and we know how this will unfold. I personally didn’t know who Whitey Bulger was going into this film so this was a learning process but as I am not a fan of gangster films I just didn’t get pulled into the story because we just don’t get enough of the story of why Jimmy is motivated to become the gangster in the first place and we are dealing with flashbacks from all the major characters in jail.

Biography/CrimeLearning part of the life of Whitey Bulger is interesting enough to learn but we don’t understand how far up the reign of terror got, the crime side does all look good though.

SettingsThe settings show us the time in which the film takes place is fine they all fit the era.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look into the process but sadly doesn’t give us enough about what happened as Whitey grew in reputation.

 

Overall: Has plenty going on but misses too many important moments.

Rating

 

Casey Affleck Weekend – Out of the Furnace (2013)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Brad Ingelsby, Scott Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard

 

Plot: When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Thriller

 

Story: Out of the Furnace starts as we meet the key character in this depressive downbeat town, we have aggressive new criminal Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), the current crime boss John Petty (Dafoe), hardworking Russell (Bale) and his brother soldier Rodney (Affleck), Russell girlfriend Lena (Saldana) and Chief Wesley (Whitaker).

Russell looks out for Rodney but when he is involved in a manslaughter case he finds himself in prison, while away Rodney finds himself working for Petty owing him money. Rodney desperate to make the money quick forces John into booking a fight in Harlan territory, to make a large pay day.

When Rodney finds himself in more trouble, he vanishes after the fight for Harlan, leaving a note to Russell about the change he is going to make with his life. When Russell isn’t happy with the speed, the police are taking finding his brother and Harlan he takes matters into his own hands risking his own newly acquired freedom.

 

Thoughts on Out of the Furnace

 

Characters/PerformanceRussell is the everyday man who always looks out for his brother, works hard to make a living and start a family but his life is turned upside when he is involved in an accident landing him in jail. He shows that he will do anything to protect his own family. Harlan is you typical crime boss who believes he is toughest around, deadly when needed to be. Rodney is the easily led astray young man who feels like he doesn’t get what he deserves after his time in Iraq turning to underground fighting. Wesley is the basic cop we don’t see enough from, Lena is the girlfriend that only shows what could have been with John being a nice criminal if that makes sense.

Performance wise Bale shines in the leading role with Affleck showing all of his acting skills in the supporting role. Harrelson is good and creepy but also seems to enjoy this role slightly too much. Looking deeper into the cast Whitaker, Saldana and Dafoe are all good but could be replaced by another actor.

StoryThe story shows how the bleak desperate people will turn to illegal actions to make money. We have elements of the criminal underworld which all comes through as we see how the fighting takes place and we see how one brother seeks answers on a one man mission. I liked how this was just a body building count for Russell, he goes straight to the source of the problems. This also does feel like many films we have seen before with the huge issue I had was not knowing how long he was in prison for.

Crime/ThrillerThe criminal underworld fight scenes are great with the whole idea that the criminals control the town, we are kept on edge as we wonder just how far Russell will go.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how much of a struggle most days are for these people, giving the criminal life the only escape they can get.

Special EffectsWe don’t have many here, most are just well drawn out fight sequences and well placed gun shots.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark gritty crime thriller that is a good watch, it does have a couple of plot holes but otherwise good addition to the genre.

 

Overall: Crime thriller fans enjoy.

Rating