Antonio’s The Rare Review: A Look at Sci-fi/Drama–Hostiles: A Western for the Modern World

For many of us growing up in today’s world, we are children of concrete jungles. We are more familiar with subways, skyscrapers, strip malls, and carefully manicured suburban lawns than forests. Venturing out into true wilderness is risky and incomprehensible by our cushy standards. Yet many years ago, this continent was not quite conquered. The West was once a vast place full of possibility; a place for adventure, for starting over, and for exploration. That is the world showcased in the film Hostiles.

Set in 1892, Hostiles portrays an America that is quite unrecognizable by today’s standards. The country was still recovering in some ways from the Civil War roughly three decades earlier. Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico were still territories. In New Mexico, Hostiles explores relations between Native Americans and the American army. Specifically, some sentiments in the country that have shifted to favor less harsh treatment of the native population. Protagonist Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) has fought many native groups for decades of his career with the army. One of the men he fought is Chief Yellow Hawk, a Cheyenne leader who has been imprisoned with his family at Fort Berringer for seven years. Orders have been given from the president himself to transport Chief Yellow Hawk from New Mexico to Hawk’s homeland, a valley in Montana, to live out his few remaining days. 

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