Scott Cooper’s Hostiles Hyped Sympathy For Native Americans Seems Incomplete

Hostiles, the movie starts with Blocker’s hatred of Yellow Hawk [Cheyenne chief]. He has reluctantly agreed to escort a ruthless killer [Yellow Hawk] according to him [Blocker] to the Valley of Bears. As soon as, Blocker and his team clear their starting point – Fort Berringer, Blocker orders Black Hawk and Yellow Hawk to be put in chains for the entire journey. Down the road, 1000 miles away Yellow Hawk dies and Blocker gazes with grief into the chief’s eyes saying, ‘A portion of me deceases with you’.

Scott Cooper Florida has already shown journeys full of emotions and sentiments in his debut film Crazy Heart as a director. Jeff Bridge is an addicted country singer all broken down, who meets a young reporter that offers him an opportunity at redemption. You have seen this same pattern in his 2013 Out of the Furnace, where a mill-worker protagonist, who just got out from jail rushes to save his brother from some heartless mugger.

In Hostiles, Blocker’s heart change is analogous to Rosalee Quaid. Her first reaction to seeing Yellow Hawk and his clan is to scream with fright. Soon, his women offer her clothes as she helps them with laundry. It even gets her kidnapped. Scott Cooper Florida ends the film with Rosalee adopting Little Bear, Yellow Hawks’ only surviving young grandson.

This happens in The Searchers, The Outlaw Jose Wales, and Land of Mine. Right from the start of Hostiles, viewers got a broad inkling of what was next. The probability and sporadic sense that viewers are being fed civic lessons inopportunely undermine the movie’s optimistic contributions. The film’s action scenes are commanding and shot intensely, especially in the opening sequence. You see Rosalee’s husband and three kids butchered brutally by Comanche but she escapes narrowly clutching the body of her dead babies soaked in blood.

It is a scene that efficiently prepares the audience for understanding Blocker’s abhorrence and dislikes for every Native American. His attitude looks like a racist but not entirely unmotivated. When Blocker and his team find Rosalee sitting in her ranch house nearly burnt down beside the dead bodies of her husband and children quietly they feel heart wrenched.

Scott Cooper Florida said in his interview that Hostiles offered him a chance to discover and prompt people about the dark, unforgivable past and genocide attempt of Native Americans. The historical trauma has not ended but is still going on.

The western movie is challenging to make and expensive. The sad part is there is hardly any audience to appreciate them. Fortunately, Hostiles proved it wrong because the film is connected with the US Cavalry and shows America in 1892 [industrial revolution onset].

The movie titled Hostiles is a reference to the US government’s mention of every Native American prisoner as hostile. The reality is that every character in the film is aggressive or hostile in some way.

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