The clichés and stereotypes that populate most Westerns are upended in “Hostiles,” a brutal, challenging and beautifully filmed drama. Christian Bale leads a terrific cast in the story of a war weary Army captain who, in the late 1800s, reluctantly escorts a group of Cheyenne prisoners on a torturous journey from New Mexico to Wyoming. Wes Studie plays a dying Cheyenne war chief and Rosamund Pike is a woman whose family was brutally murdered by renegades.
Writer/director Scott Cooper makes some potent statements about the cycle of violence that permeated US history. But many of the scenes in this ultraviolent and drawn out saga continue to linger, hammering home their points long after they’ve been made. While the sentiments presented in “Hostiles” may be way overdue, the drama of “Hostiles” is way overlong.
And speaking of overlong, the third and supposedly final chapter in the “Maze Runner” saga has finally arrived. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” completes the dystopian sci-fi story about a bleak future affected by solar flares, disease, zombies and wicked pseudo-governmental agencies. Dylan O’Brian is back as a young man leading a ragtag group of teens fighting for their lives while trying to figure out what’s going on. You’ll have a hard time figuring it out, too, if you haven’t seen the other entries in the series…and maybe even if you have. Loud, busy and exhausting, “The Maze Runner: The Death Cure” probably marks the death of this franchise.
Also opening this week, “The Road Movie” is a documentary comprised entirely of car wrecks and other mayhem recorded from Russian dashboard cameras. “Freak Show” is a comic drama about a teenage boy who decides to run for homecoming queen. Trudie Styler, best known as the wife of Sting, produced and directed.