Welcome to PR's film reviews page. PR has written 2 reviews and rated 8 films.
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I am often critical of some modern films that seem so slow and languishing, sometimes leaving me thinking I have wasted a couple of viewing hours. It seems to be a trait observed regularly these days. The Hostiles is a long film, and it's pace, or should I say 'style' could certainly be described as ‘slow’ — but it certainly grips you right from the start and then it doesn't let up. I said to my wife after we sat through nearly three hours of The Hostiles something I have seldom said... I told her that the film was really rather slow... but it was also BRILLIANT for all that! We both agreed that we had just watched a most absorbing, chilling & sometimes quite brutal movie. We also agreed that it was probably one of the best movies we have watched in the past year or so.
It seems that every moment is lingered on (apart from sudden brutal scenes), but the acting, sparse script, character development and overall attention to detail is stunning — so the pace works perfectly well. Visually the movie is frankly amazing, and there's a real sense of authenticity in the sets and costumes etc. Indeed, it's worth watching the Special Features found on the Blu-ray version, as you then get a sense of the extremely meticulous production and directing techniques, and also the passion that every actor or behind-the-camera person put into the drama.
Christian Bale gives a wonderful, sombre performance as a man who has his demons, but is very much a product of the times in which he lived. He has led a life that is hard, brutal and difficult but he has qualities that make him a special person in such a lawless and cruel period of American history. Rosamund Pike is a seriously talented actor and she grips you from the very start and right up to the last dramatic moments of the story. I pick out Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, but actually every single performance in the movie is breath-takingly good. I have to take my hat off to the fantastic cast and the truly awesome production team behind them.
This film was recommended to me by a friend and without that I think I could have easily missed it — but I would have been missing out on a very special three hours of viewing.
I also want to mention the photography and the music. The wide-shot scenes of New Mexico and Colorado (the main locations used for filming) are simply beautiful. Visually you really are taken to the Wild West with unflinching detail and cinematographic skills. I believe that the musical score for a movie too often gets 'overlooked' in reviews etc. I have always considered that a well crafted music soundtrack can add as much 'punch' and 'emotion' to a movie, as often the acting and screenplay do. It can be that important an ingredient. In The Hostiles I was a little disappointed that the ‘Extra Features’, whilst mentioning the location efforts, authentic costumes, acting prowess and production talent, did not really mention the music! Throughout the whole of the film the music is simply sublime. It's powerful and emotional, and provides a fantastic backdrop to the visuals. I have already mentioned that the movie is meticulous and played-out creatively at a 'slow pace' and therefore I feel the music is even more important in 'carrying' the long scenes, which are often performed with little dialogue, and then the superbly composed music makes the whole thing so damn powerful.
So, summing up: Acting is brilliant and detailed, Production and Direction is masterful, the photography and set/costumes have such authenticity... and the music gels the whole piece of work together to form a very solid piece of modern film artistry. It also makes you seriously think about America's history, back in those difficult pioneer days, when the treatment of the indigenous native peoples minorities, the hard lives and devastating brutality was complex, cruel and devastating. So, even from a 'social documenting' angle The Hostiles should not be ignored.
A beautifully crafted movie.
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This Blu-ray looked stunning, the production values being really high. Every scene was well considered and brilliantly filmed and I think that the 'look' of the movie really pushed the enjoyment levels very high.
Tom Hardy played a gritty and moody character and was totally believable. I am a big fan of Tom Hardy but I think this is possibly one of his best roles. Having said that I thought that all the actors performed to a high standard and, along with the well-crafted screenplay it was a riveting experience. Shia LaBeouf as Jack Bondurant was perfect for the role, as was Gary Oldman playing Floyed Banner (I would have liked more appearances by him in the film, he was such a great character).
I have to be careful in case I sound over-enthusiastic about Lawless but it was honestly one of the best films I have seen for a good while. Even the music was stunning and I may even buy the soundtrack.
On the Blu-ray version the 'extras' helped to give weight to the story and the characters. The author of "The Wettest County in The World" discusses the film and the story. His grandfather was Jack Bondurant and his grand-uncles were Forrest and Howard — so I feel this made the film, although probably embellished probably quite true to actual events. Either way, the short 'extra' documentary should be watched after you have enjoyed the movie... and you will then appreciate the film even more (well I did!).
Thoroughly recommend this. There are some very brutal scenes and some people may find them rather 'gory' and difficult to watch — but I honestly feel the violence was gratuitous... they were hard times and "Lawless" is an apt title!
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