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John Ford Would've Been Proud of Scott Cooper

Helluva movie. One of the best Westerns I've ever seen. Like the characters, most viewers will find their emotions and sympathies change profoundly from beginning to end. The 19th century West was a hard, unforgiving place where settlers and Indians were constantly in danger and death could come at any time. That kind of fragility of life is so difficult for modern people to understand since most of us live such safe lives.

In past films, Native peoples were usually shown as aggressors against settlers and in recent films that characterization has been flipped. Evidence shows there was brutality and kindness on both sides and this is what Hostiles understands so much better than most Westerns.

Kudos as well for not presenting Native peoples as a monolithic group. They fought among themselves just as fiercely as various settler groups or Unionists vs. Confederates. Chief Yellow Hawk (Cheyenne) describes the Comanche as “rattlesnake people, the worst kind” and his group takes it upon themselves to dispatch the Comanche raiders with extreme prejudice.

Food in Films: Enjoyed Lt. Kidder (Jesse Plemons) describing the group's provisions for the journey...A month's worth of meat, raisins, sugar, and pickles.


High praise indeed spacecomedy, feels more like one of those western's that Sam Peckinpah would have made to me in the 1970's more then a John Ford film.

Agreed one of the best modern western's I've seen, surprised it's rated only at 7.2 on IMDB. Legit for me it should be around a 8 for me. Scott Cooper's best film to date, with one of Christian Bale's more underrated performances. With Ben Foster almost stealing the film in a smaller role. To be fair all the cast is fantastic, not a dud in it.

It's a very bleak film probably one of the reason's it probably got the 7.2 rating. It's only at the end where you get some sort of happy ending for Bale and Pike's characters. The opening scene with the massacre of Pike's character young family tells the audience that they aren't in for a easy ride. It's totally unforgiving film just like the west was probably. I always see the film as about forgiveness.


You're right that parts of the film (especially the opening scene) feel much more like Peckinpah than Ford. The overall theme reminded me of films like Hondo and Cheyenne Autumn, so I think Ford would've appreciated Cooper's vision.


Fully agree. This was a powerful film with fantastic performances, an engrossing and moving story, stunning cinematography, and intense action sequences. The final scene is one of the most emotional and memorable endings I've seen in a while, playing as a reverse homage to the ending of The Searchers, and Max Richter's beautiful score is so haunting.

Hostiles is actually the film that got me genuinely interested in Westerns. After seeing Hostiles, I pretty much went back and watched or re-watched as many Westerns as possible and I've become fairly obsessed with the genre since then, having seen other classics like Lonesome Dove (which runs neck-and-neck with Hostiles as my favorite of the genre), High Plains Drifter, and The Outlaw Josey Wales.


Great observation about the ending as a reversal of The Searchers final scene.

Over the last year, I've also been watching and rewatching lots of Westerns. Saw High Plains Drifter for the first time and was amazed at the intensity of the story/mystery. Eastwood is a master of the genre and one of the all-time greats.