Hostiles is a 2017 American Western film that was written and directed by Scott Cooper, and is based on a story written by Donald E. Stewart. The film features Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, Adam Beach, Q’orianka Kilcher, and Timothee Chalamet and follows a U. S. Calvary officer who must escort a Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their home in Montana in 1892.
Starting off at Fort Berringer, New Mexico, Captain Joseph Blocker rounds up an escaping Apache family and brings them back to the fort. He is then called to the office of Colonel Abraham Biggs, who informs him of his final orders before retirement, direct from the President: escort the dying Cheyenne war chief Yellow Hawk, along with his family, back to their tribal lands in Montana. Under threat of a court-martial if he refused to follow the orders, he reluctantly accepts, despite his history with the chief, who was responsible for the death of several of his friends and comrades.
The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2017, and had a limited release in the United States by Entertainment Studios beginning on December 22, 2017, before going wide on January 26, 2018, and ended up grossing $31 million worldwide. According to the review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 73% based on the 180 reviews that have been submitted, with a weighted average of 6.8/10. The website’s critical consensus reads that “Hostiles benefits from stunning visuals and a solid central performance from Christian Bale, both of which help elevate its uneven story.”
The Film Itself (3.75/5):
Hostiles is a movie, that while it doesn’t necessarily offer a very active or exciting tale, tells us the story of something that kind of reigns true today. Teaching the lesson of acceptance among different communities is something that has become more of a goal as of late, and as Blocker and his crew venture across the the nation on their mission, we witness the overall “coming of age” per-se as he not only understands the fact that the Native American people with him are no different than he, but works to try and convey that thought into the minds of those that are helping him with this mission. Like I mentioned, the story itself isn’t too terribly exciting, or action packed by any means, and the story may feel that it’s pretty dull at times, as long as you pay attention to the movie as it progresses, you’ll may just end up thinking it’s a good film too.
Picture Quality (5/5):
Offering a native 4K presentation, Hostiles looked absolutely beautiful as it played out across my living room television. Providing some jaw-dropping mountainous landscapes and a completely natural feeling during both the day and night sequences, I was simply in awe at the visual presentation of this movie. Normally, in the lower-lit sequences, I’d have some trouble seeing what’s going on and understanding what’s being presented before my eyes; but, with this, it really did a great job during those night sequences and with minimal ambient lighting, made it look almost as if the moonlight were shining off of those venturing along.
Audio Quality (4/5):
Packaged with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, Hostiles really does try to offer an immersive experience for its viewers. While a lot of the story is considerably uneventful, I feel that this movie would have done a lot better had they chosen to include the surround channels. As the crew are venturing across the country to complete their mission, I feel that with a 7.1 audio mix, it would have done a better job at placing my wife and I right there with everyone, putting us right smack dab in the middle of everything. However, the included audio track wasn’t bad by any means. Everything was clean and clear and easily understandable, and the dialogue did require a normal than higher volume level to understand everything; but, that was mostly due to the lack of a robust surround channel.
The Packaging (2.5/5):
The 4K UHD release of Hostiles comes packaged in your standard dual-disc 4K UHD amaray case. Within that case are the 4K UHD copy of the film as well as the standard Blu-ray copy of the film; both discs featuring the same piece of artwork between the two and a portion of the overall case art of the release. There is also a digital copy redemption pamphlet included for streaming options as well as a slipcover that bears the same piece of artwork that’s been provided on the case art.
Special Features (4/5):
Normally, I would give a release that only comes with one special feature a hard time; but, the UHD release of Hostiles is another unique UHD release as that special feature is also included on the UHD disc. And the included feature that’s on both discs is pretty extensive as it allows not only an extended look at the story at hand, but a really nice look into the work that went into making this film. Included with this release is:
- A Journey Of The Soul: The Making Of Hostiles
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English SDH, Spanish
Original Film: 134 minutes
Overall, I was genuinely pleased with Hostiles and the story that it gave. I will admit, that it took me two viewings before I felt comfortable with writing this review, but that was mostly because of distractions that I had during the first viewing. That said, the story that we’re given with this movie is one that is slightly relevant to todays society and culture. The visual of this release was exceptional, allowing this movie to be what I would consider to be a feature piece of my collection, and the audio track could have really been handled better. If you’re considering this release for your collection, I would definitely recommend that you check it out first. Hostiles will available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.