Guillermo del Toro Signs Overall Production Deal at Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight has signed reigning Best Director Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro to an overall production deal, where he’ll create genre feature content like horror and science fiction.

Terms of the deal, brokered by division heads Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula, will cover live action film projects to be written, produced and/or directed by del Toro. The studio, now the property of the Walt Disney Company, nabbed Best Picture this year for del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.”

The projects will be developed through a still-unnamed joint label. First up is “Antlers,” a film about an elementary school teacher who takes in a troubled student keeping a mysterious and deadly family secret.

Also Read: Sundance: Will Fox Searchlight Still Be a Player in Shadow of Disney Acquisition?

Scott Cooper will direct from a script by Nick Antosca and Henry Chaisson, based on the short “The Quiet Boy” by Nick Antosca. Del Toro, David Goyer and J. Miles Dale will produce, with Kevin Turen serving as executive producer.

“In Fox Searchlight, I’ve found a real home for live action production — a partnership based on hard work, understanding of each other and, above all, faith … I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the relationship,” del Toro said in a statement.

“We have observed first-hand Guillermo at work as a director, a writer, a producer — a creator. We believe in him and the vision for a new Searchlight label and we are eager to embark on this journey with him,” said Utley and Gilula.

Read the announcement:

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that Fox Searchlight Pictures has signed a deal with Academy Award® winning director Guillermo del Toro that covers live action feature film projects to be written, produced and/or directed by del Toro. Fox Searchlight is also creating a new, soon to be named, label which will serve as a home for projects in the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres, including those produced and curated by del Toro. Films will be financed, marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

“For the longest time, I’ve hoped to find an environment in which I can distribute, nurture and produce new voices in smart, inventive genre films and channel my own. In Fox Searchlight, I’ve found a real home for live action production — a partnership based on hard work, understanding of each other and, above all, faith. After the wonderful experience I had with Fox Searchlight on ‘The Shape of Water,’ I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the relationship. I am more than grateful to Nancy, Steve, David and Matthew for their trust in me and for joining me on this adventure,” said del Toro.

“Throughout the process of ‘The Shape of Water’ coming to life, we have observed first-hand Guillermo at work as a director, a writer, a producer — a creator. We believe in him and the vision for a new Searchlight label and we are eager to embark on this journey with him,” said Utley and Gilula.

“As well as being a brilliant filmmaker, Guillermo is a passionate collaborator, curator and advocate for other artists. Working with him on this new label, focused on the highest quality projects in the genre space, allows Searchlight to expand our reach to new filmmakers and new audiences around the world,” said David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Co-Heads of Production.

The first film in the pipeline will be ANTLERS, a story about an elementary school teacher who takes in a troubled student that harbors a mysterious family secret with deadly consequences. The film will be directed by Scott Cooper with a script written by Nick Antosca & Henry Chaisson, based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca. Guillermo Del Toro, David Goyer, and J. Miles Dale will produce, with Kevin Turen serving as executive producer.

Guillermo del Toro’s most recent film, THE SHAPE OF WATER, was honored with 13 Oscar nominations and won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Score and Best Production Design. In all, the film garnered more than 100 awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and appeared on more than 70 critics’ lists of the year’s best films.

Del Toro earned international acclaim as the director, writer and producer of the 2006 fantasy drama PAN’S LABYRINTH which won three Academy Awards. He first gained recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production CRONOS, a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist.

Del Toro’s other films include MIMIC, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, BLADE II, HELLBOY, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, PACIFIC RIM and CRIMSON PEAK.

Guillermo del Toro was represented by Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment, Robert Newman of William Morris Endeavor and attorney George Hayum, Esq. from the law firm of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman LLP.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Guillermo del Toro Starts Scholarship Fund for Mexican Filmmakers

Oscars Tell a Story of Inclusion – for Women, People of Color and Guillermo del Toro’s Fish-Man

Oscars: Guillermo del Toro Gets Fourth Mexican-Born Best Director Win in 5 Years

Fox Searchlight has signed reigning Best Director Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro to an overall production deal, where he’ll create genre feature content like horror and science fiction.

Terms of the deal, brokered by division heads Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula, will cover live action film projects to be written, produced and/or directed by del Toro. The studio, now the property of the Walt Disney Company, nabbed Best Picture this year for del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.”

The projects will be developed through a still-unnamed joint label. First up is “Antlers,” a film about an elementary school teacher who takes in a troubled student keeping a mysterious and deadly family secret.

Scott Cooper will direct from a script by Nick Antosca and Henry Chaisson, based on the short “The Quiet Boy” by Nick Antosca. Del Toro, David Goyer and J. Miles Dale will produce, with Kevin Turen serving as executive producer.

“In Fox Searchlight, I’ve found a real home for live action production — a partnership based on hard work, understanding of each other and, above all, faith … I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the relationship,” del Toro said in a statement.

“We have observed first-hand Guillermo at work as a director, a writer, a producer — a creator. We believe in him and the vision for a new Searchlight label and we are eager to embark on this journey with him,” said Utley and Gilula.

Read the announcement:

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that Fox Searchlight Pictures has signed a deal with Academy Award® winning director Guillermo del Toro that covers live action feature film projects to be written, produced and/or directed by del Toro. Fox Searchlight is also creating a new, soon to be named, label which will serve as a home for projects in the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres, including those produced and curated by del Toro. Films will be financed, marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

“For the longest time, I’ve hoped to find an environment in which I can distribute, nurture and produce new voices in smart, inventive genre films and channel my own. In Fox Searchlight, I’ve found a real home for live action production — a partnership based on hard work, understanding of each other and, above all, faith. After the wonderful experience I had with Fox Searchlight on ‘The Shape of Water,’ I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the relationship. I am more than grateful to Nancy, Steve, David and Matthew for their trust in me and for joining me on this adventure,” said del Toro.

“Throughout the process of ‘The Shape of Water’ coming to life, we have observed first-hand Guillermo at work as a director, a writer, a producer — a creator. We believe in him and the vision for a new Searchlight label and we are eager to embark on this journey with him,” said Utley and Gilula.

“As well as being a brilliant filmmaker, Guillermo is a passionate collaborator, curator and advocate for other artists. Working with him on this new label, focused on the highest quality projects in the genre space, allows Searchlight to expand our reach to new filmmakers and new audiences around the world,” said David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Co-Heads of Production.

The first film in the pipeline will be ANTLERS, a story about an elementary school teacher who takes in a troubled student that harbors a mysterious family secret with deadly consequences. The film will be directed by Scott Cooper with a script written by Nick Antosca & Henry Chaisson, based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca. Guillermo Del Toro, David Goyer, and J. Miles Dale will produce, with Kevin Turen serving as executive producer.

Guillermo del Toro’s most recent film, THE SHAPE OF WATER, was honored with 13 Oscar nominations and won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Score and Best Production Design. In all, the film garnered more than 100 awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and appeared on more than 70 critics’ lists of the year’s best films.

Del Toro earned international acclaim as the director, writer and producer of the 2006 fantasy drama PAN’S LABYRINTH which won three Academy Awards. He first gained recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production CRONOS, a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist.

Del Toro’s other films include MIMIC, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, BLADE II, HELLBOY, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, PACIFIC RIM and CRIMSON PEAK.

Guillermo del Toro was represented by Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment, Robert Newman of William Morris Endeavor and attorney George Hayum, Esq. from the law firm of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman LLP.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Guillermo del Toro Starts Scholarship Fund for Mexican Filmmakers

Oscars Tell a Story of Inclusion – for Women, People of Color and Guillermo del Toro's Fish-Man

Oscars: Guillermo del Toro Gets Fourth Mexican-Born Best Director Win in 5 Years

‘Hostiles’ Editor Tom Cross On Cutting Scott Cooper’s Psychological Western

Shortly before winning his first Oscar and an ACE Eddie award for La La Land, absorbed in the limelight of one of the year’s most highly acclaimed films, editor Tom Cross was in a very different headspace as he cut Scott Cooper’s dark, often brutal Western Hostiles, attempting to bring a depth and a psychological dimension to Cooper’s take on a classic American genre.
Working with Cross on his first feature, Crazy Heart—where he served as an assistant editor—Cooper…

Shortly before winning his first Oscar and an ACE Eddie award for La La Land, absorbed in the limelight of one of the year’s most highly acclaimed films, editor Tom Cross was in a very different headspace as he cut Scott Cooper’s dark, often brutal Western Hostiles, attempting to bring a depth and a psychological dimension to Cooper’s take on a classic American genre. Working with Cross on his first feature, Crazy Heart—where he served as an assistant editor—Cooper…

How ‘Hostiles’ DP Masanobu Takayanagi Overcame Nature’s Unpredictability For Scott Cooper Western

Shooting Scott Cooper’s last two films—pitch-black backwoods thriller Out of the Furnace and gangster picture Black Mass—cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi shifted visual gears once again with the director’s latest, the Christian Bale-starring Western, Hostilesshooting out in the wilderness, with much of the film’s aesthetic dictated by nature itself.
Encountering lightning storms and other unexpected weather patterns which demanded flexibility and quick thinking on…

Shooting Scott Cooper’s last two films—pitch-black backwoods thriller Out of the Furnace and gangster picture Black Mass—cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi shifted visual gears once again with the director’s latest, the Christian Bale-starring Western, Hostilesshooting out in the wilderness, with much of the film’s aesthetic dictated by nature itself. Encountering lightning storms and other unexpected weather patterns which demanded flexibility and quick thinking on…

The Evolution of Christian Bale: From ‘Newsies’ to ‘Hostiles’ (Photos)

From the beginning of his career, Christian Bale has stood among the best actors of his generation. During his maturation, however, he has shown a willingness to commit to his roles that goes far beyond what most would dare to do.

Empire of the Sun (1987)

Bale’s first feature lead came in Steven Spielberg’s criminally underrated “Empire of the Sun,” a coming-of-age war film about a British orphan who is placed in a Japanese internment camp during WWII. His performance earned rave reviews, as well as a National Board of Review Award for Best Juvenile Performance, the first time the organization had given an award to a child actor.

Newsies (1992)

Bale’s performance as strike leader Jack Kelly in “Newsies” is a noted cult favorite, even though the actor later admitted he didn’t really like musicals and had no idea the movie contained singing and dancing when he signed on for the role.

Velvet Goldmine (1998)

After stints in family entertainment with “Little Women” and “Pocahontas,” Bale took a risk with Todd Haynes’ “Velvet Goldmine” by playing a music journalist who is given the strength to come out after writing a story about a former glam rock star, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

American Psycho (2000)

Arguably his second breakout role, Bale’s turn as sociopath Patrick Bateman showed a new, committed approach to the roles he chose: he had his teeth fixed and worked out constantly, all in order to achieve the look ascribed to the character in Bret Easton Ellis’ novel. It paid off, however, with some of the best reviews of Bale’s career.

Equilibrium (2002)

Though he had previously appeared in “Shaft” with Samuel L. Jackson, Bale was mostly a passive character. “Equilibrium” marked his first true action film performance, proving he could kick ass with the best of them. Bonus note: Bale’s character, John Preston, holds the third-highest body count in movie history with 118 kills.

The Machinist (2004)

When people talk about “The Machinist,” the subject inevitably turns to Bale’s staggering weight loss to portray a man who hadn’t slept in a year after a personal tragedy. He lost 62 pounds (more than a third of his body weight) and earned highly positive reviews for both his performance and his commitment.

Batman Begins (2005)

Immediately after “The Machinist,” Bale packed on 100 pounds to take on the coveted role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins.” The actor once again earned positive reviews and a Saturn Award. Bonus note: though the rumor took on a life of its own on the internet, Bale did NOT audition to play Robin in “Batman Forever.”

Rescue Dawn (2006)

Though now a box office draw, Bale kept a firm foot in the indie world by once again starving himself for Werner Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn,” the true story of a German-American fighter pilot who was shot down in Vietnam and placed in a POW camp. Impressed with his performance, Herzog later called Bale “one of the greatest talents of his generation.”

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Bale took on his first Western with James Mangold’s “3:10 to Yuma” opposite Russell Crowe. A remake of the 1957 classic of the same name, the Welshman more than proves himself as a capable frontier man who, much like his Bruce Wayne, finds himself in the role of a flawed, imperfect, and admirable hero.

The Dark Knight (2008)

“Batman Begins” revived the Batman legacy, but “The Dark Knight” became a global phenomenon and established Bale as one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

Terminator Salvation (2009)

While the film itself was rather forgettable, “Terminator Salvation” became hugely entertaining after an audio tape of Bale berating a crew member for ruining a take leaked. While Bale apologized and several members of the industry came to his defense, the video went viral and gave the whole world a slew of new memes, as well as a new way to view the actor.

The Fighter (2010)

Bale earned his first Oscar nomination and win for playing former boxer and addict Dickie Eklund in “The Fighter.” Bale, once again, lost an extreme amount of his Batman weight in order to achieve the bone-skinny appearance of a drug addict.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Though not the high note that was “The Dark Knight,” Bale was able to do what almost no superhero actor is ever given the chance to do: go out on his own terms with a an actual character resolution.

Out of the Furnace (2013)

For his first post-Batman film, Bale teamed up with Scott Cooper for “Out of the Furnace.” One of the most divisive films of the year, “Out of the Furnace” finished with a middling Rotten Tomatoes score but wound up on several critics’ best-of-year lists.

American Hustle (2013)

Bale ate his way to a 43-pound weight gain for “American Hustle,” one of the most critically-lauded films of the year, and one of the actor’s most commercially successful outside the “Dark Knight” trilogy. Bale would also earn his first Best Actor Oscar nomination (his second overall).

The Big Short (2015)

Bale’s third Oscar nomination came courtesy of Adam McKay’s “The Big Short,” in which the actor plays one of the few men who saw the financial disaster of 2008 coming down the road and figured out a way to make money from it. We thought we had run out of ways to be surprised by Bale, but his performance of a socially anxious man who is much more comfortable dealing with numbers instead of people took many by surprise.

Hostiles (2017)

Bale’s second film with Scott Cooper (in a role written specifically for him) sees him return to the Western genre as an Army captain who is tasked with escorting a dying Cheyenne war chief back to his land in order to die.

Backseat (2018)

Bale is reteaming with Adam McKay for the Dick Cheney biopic “Backseat,” which will once again gift us with Bale’s fat version in order to remind us all what true commitment to an art looks like.

From the beginning of his career, Christian Bale has stood among the best actors of his generation. During his maturation, however, he has shown a willingness to commit to his roles that goes far beyond what most would dare to do.

Empire of the Sun (1987)

Bale’s first feature lead came in Steven Spielberg’s criminally underrated “Empire of the Sun,” a coming-of-age war film about a British orphan who is placed in a Japanese internment camp during WWII. His performance earned rave reviews, as well as a National Board of Review Award for Best Juvenile Performance, the first time the organization had given an award to a child actor.

Newsies (1992)

Bale’s performance as strike leader Jack Kelly in “Newsies” is a noted cult favorite, even though the actor later admitted he didn’t really like musicals and had no idea the movie contained singing and dancing when he signed on for the role.

Velvet Goldmine (1998)

After stints in family entertainment with “Little Women” and “Pocahontas,” Bale took a risk with Todd Haynes’ “Velvet Goldmine” by playing a music journalist who is given the strength to come out after writing a story about a former glam rock star, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

American Psycho (2000)

Arguably his second breakout role, Bale’s turn as sociopath Patrick Bateman showed a new, committed approach to the roles he chose: he had his teeth fixed and worked out constantly, all in order to achieve the look ascribed to the character in Bret Easton Ellis’ novel. It paid off, however, with some of the best reviews of Bale’s career.

Equilibrium (2002)

Though he had previously appeared in “Shaft” with Samuel L. Jackson, Bale was mostly a passive character. “Equilibrium” marked his first true action film performance, proving he could kick ass with the best of them. Bonus note: Bale’s character, John Preston, holds the third-highest body count in movie history with 118 kills.

The Machinist (2004)

When people talk about “The Machinist,” the subject inevitably turns to Bale’s staggering weight loss to portray a man who hadn’t slept in a year after a personal tragedy. He lost 62 pounds (more than a third of his body weight) and earned highly positive reviews for both his performance and his commitment.

Batman Begins (2005)

Immediately after “The Machinist,” Bale packed on 100 pounds to take on the coveted role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins.” The actor once again earned positive reviews and a Saturn Award. Bonus note: though the rumor took on a life of its own on the internet, Bale did NOT audition to play Robin in “Batman Forever.”

Rescue Dawn (2006)

Though now a box office draw, Bale kept a firm foot in the indie world by once again starving himself for Werner Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn,” the true story of a German-American fighter pilot who was shot down in Vietnam and placed in a POW camp. Impressed with his performance, Herzog later called Bale “one of the greatest talents of his generation.”

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Bale took on his first Western with James Mangold’s “3:10 to Yuma” opposite Russell Crowe. A remake of the 1957 classic of the same name, the Welshman more than proves himself as a capable frontier man who, much like his Bruce Wayne, finds himself in the role of a flawed, imperfect, and admirable hero.

The Dark Knight (2008)

“Batman Begins” revived the Batman legacy, but “The Dark Knight” became a global phenomenon and established Bale as one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

Terminator Salvation (2009)

While the film itself was rather forgettable, “Terminator Salvation” became hugely entertaining after an audio tape of Bale berating a crew member for ruining a take leaked. While Bale apologized and several members of the industry came to his defense, the video went viral and gave the whole world a slew of new memes, as well as a new way to view the actor.

The Fighter (2010)

Bale earned his first Oscar nomination and win for playing former boxer and addict Dickie Eklund in “The Fighter.” Bale, once again, lost an extreme amount of his Batman weight in order to achieve the bone-skinny appearance of a drug addict.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Though not the high note that was “The Dark Knight,” Bale was able to do what almost no superhero actor is ever given the chance to do: go out on his own terms with a an actual character resolution.

Out of the Furnace (2013)

For his first post-Batman film, Bale teamed up with Scott Cooper for “Out of the Furnace.” One of the most divisive films of the year, “Out of the Furnace” finished with a middling Rotten Tomatoes score but wound up on several critics’ best-of-year lists.

American Hustle (2013)

Bale ate his way to a 43-pound weight gain for “American Hustle,” one of the most critically-lauded films of the year, and one of the actor’s most commercially successful outside the “Dark Knight” trilogy. Bale would also earn his first Best Actor Oscar nomination (his second overall).

The Big Short (2015)

Bale’s third Oscar nomination came courtesy of Adam McKay’s “The Big Short,” in which the actor plays one of the few men who saw the financial disaster of 2008 coming down the road and figured out a way to make money from it. We thought we had run out of ways to be surprised by Bale, but his performance of a socially anxious man who is much more comfortable dealing with numbers instead of people took many by surprise.

Hostiles (2017)

Bale’s second film with Scott Cooper (in a role written specifically for him) sees him return to the Western genre as an Army captain who is tasked with escorting a dying Cheyenne war chief back to his land in order to die.

Backseat (2018)

Bale is reteaming with Adam McKay for the Dick Cheney biopic “Backseat,” which will once again gift us with Bale’s fat version in order to remind us all what true commitment to an art looks like.

‘Hostiles’ Distributor Byron Allen, On Growing A Movie Company In Difficult Times For Indies

Today, Entertainment Studios has broadened its awards season release of Hostiles, the Scott Cooper-directed Western that stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi. It is the biggest prestige film play so far for Entertainment Studios, the company owned by Byron Allen, who is moving aggressively into the movie business space after establishing himself in a way similar to Merv Griffin, for whom television syndication was the fulcrum for his other ambitions. Allen…

Today, Entertainment Studios has broadened its awards season release of Hostiles, the Scott Cooper-directed Western that stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi. It is the biggest prestige film play so far for Entertainment Studios, the company owned by Byron Allen, who is moving aggressively into the movie business space after establishing himself in a way similar to Merv Griffin, for whom television syndication was the fulcrum for his other ambitions. Allen…

‘Hostiles’ Scott Cooper On Directing Christian Bale, And The Strange James Earl Ray Tie Behind His MLK Film

After a decade spent trying to make it as an actor, Scott Cooper found his niche as an actor’s director. Distributor Entertainment Studios tomorrow broadens the release of his fourth film, Hostiles, in the teeth of awards season. Cooper guided Jeff Bridges to the Best Actor Oscar in his directing debut Crazy Heart, and followups Out of the Furnace and Black Mass have all featured strong performances. The 1892-set Hostiles — which Cooper scripted from a decades old…

After a decade spent trying to make it as an actor, Scott Cooper found his niche as an actor’s director. Distributor Entertainment Studios tomorrow broadens the release of his fourth film, Hostiles, in the teeth of awards season. Cooper guided Jeff Bridges to the Best Actor Oscar in his directing debut Crazy Heart, and followups Out of the Furnace and Black Mass have all featured strong performances. The 1892-set Hostiles — which Cooper scripted from a decades old…

‘Hostiles’ Film Review: Christian Bale Drives a Great American Western

The Western keeps reinventing itself. Each generation finds its own way of adapting the genre to reflect our country’s social evolution and gradual enlightenment through a mechanism that is uniquely and wholly American. From John Ford to Sam Peckinpah, Robert Altman to Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner to Quentin Tarantino. From the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” to Iñárritu’s “The Revenant,” the genre lends itself to and bends itself into a continual rumination on redefining the Great American Hero.

Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles” might well become this generation’s definitive Western for the way it embraces the genre’s traditions while coming to grips with the inescapable admission of our own war crimes.

With “Hostiles,” which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, Cooper finally brings to full fruition the excellence he has come close to achieving in the fine films he’s already made: “Crazy Heart,” “Out of the Furnace” and “Black Mass.” A director prone to the slow burn who is none too keen on sentimentality, Cooper thaws some of that reluctance with “Hostiles” to offer what so many of us crave, especially now in Trump’s America.

Also Read: Fall Festivals Say It Loud: Here Comes Awards Season

No, it isn’t an ode to patriotism. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s a film that is not afraid to soothe the aching heart that longs for some echo of hope amid the darkness.

Christian Bale plays Captain Joseph Blocker, a late-19th-century soldier tasked with slaughtering Native Americans. Blocker believes himself to be on the right side — God’s side, the side that told us we somehow had the right to seize land that wasn’t ours and annihilate anyone who wasn’t us. So disgusted with Native Americans is Captain Blocker that he refuses a direct order to take an Indian family to a reservation and doesn’t comply until threatened with a court-martial.

Rosamund Pike plays the sole survivor of an attack by a particularly ruthless tribe that came for their horses, killed her whole family and burned down their homestead. Pike’s character survives, cradling her dead baby in her arms until Blocker’s entourage stumbles upon her. For no reason except that it’s the right thing to do, Blocker gives her a warm blanket, helps her bury her children and before long she’s riding along on the mission with them.

She and Blocker and the Indian family are stuck together, enemies, but as they face common adversities they somehow must learn how to fight as one to survive. They’re a collection of broken individuals thrown together by circumstance. As their troubles mount they don’t have time to adhere to their preconceived hatred of one another. They must learn to trust each other. They have no other choice.

Also Read: ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Review: In a Hard Year for Women, Emma Stone Provides Reason to Cheer

Some of this may sound like a cliché, but Cooper avoids facile assumptions by making things exponentially harder on his protagonist and fellow travelers. There isn’t going to be any easy way out of their plight. Despite the violence, moral ambiguity and growing body count, this is not a Western noir, because it’s ultimately not a film about hopelessness or despair, which it very well could have been.

Instead, Cooper offers up another way forward, another way to escape the guilty disenchantment of the merciless frontier. For an interminably bleak stretch, the movie seems seems to offer no way out — no way out of our dark and unforgivable American past, no way to break free from the unending grief of having your homeland taken from you by men on horseback with an endless supply of weapons, no way out of the unimaginable sorrow of losing all of your children in an instant.

No way out, until the doomed adversaries are swept up in shared realization — that the only way to make it out alive will be to stitch together what’s left of their shattered existence and discover a new and better definition of the right way to live.

Also Read: ‘The Shape of Water’ Review: Guillermo del Toro’s Glorious Romance Blends Horror and Delight

“Hostiles” is beautifully filmed amid endless horizons by Masanobu Takayanagi, the cinematographer who shot both “Out of the Furnace” and “Black Mass.” It features another standout performance by Wes Studi as Chief Yellow Hawk. Pike is marvelous in her pivotal supporting turn. Ultimately, though, the film’s main artery is Bale, whose character undergoes an impossibly wide range of changes.

There aren’t many films that can illuminate important ideals, the things that really matter when the lights go out, when life comes to an end. Sometimes those ideals matter enough to die for them. Sometimes they matter enough to kill for them. And some of us are lucky enough that we can turn to art to remind us. Riveted by the glorious storytelling of “Hostiles,” a few Telluride audience members burst into spontaneous applause as it built to its conclusion.

Each of us packs whatever fragments we can salvage of ourselves after tragedies, and each of us struggles to piece together all that remains as we stumble through life. We can never erase who we are. We can’t ever atone for what we’ve done. We must, all of us, carry our history with us every day we live, in a land that was never ours.

Cooper has, with his splendid new film, given us yet another opportunity to help restore some of what we’ve taken. This latest incarnation of the great American Western finds its truth in the tangled roots of our own mythmaking.

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The Western keeps reinventing itself. Each generation finds its own way of adapting the genre to reflect our country’s social evolution and gradual enlightenment through a mechanism that is uniquely and wholly American. From John Ford to Sam Peckinpah, Robert Altman to Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner to Quentin Tarantino. From the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” to Iñárritu’s “The Revenant,” the genre lends itself to and bends itself into a continual rumination on redefining the Great American Hero.

Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles” might well become this generation’s definitive Western for the way it embraces the genre’s traditions while coming to grips with the inescapable admission of our own war crimes.

With “Hostiles,” which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, Cooper finally brings to full fruition the excellence he has come close to achieving in the fine films he’s already made: “Crazy Heart,” “Out of the Furnace” and “Black Mass.” A director prone to the slow burn who is none too keen on sentimentality, Cooper thaws some of that reluctance with “Hostiles” to offer what so many of us crave, especially now in Trump’s America.

No, it isn’t an ode to patriotism. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s a film that is not afraid to soothe the aching heart that longs for some echo of hope amid the darkness.

Christian Bale plays Captain Joseph Blocker, a late-19th-century soldier tasked with slaughtering Native Americans. Blocker believes himself to be on the right side — God’s side, the side that told us we somehow had the right to seize land that wasn’t ours and annihilate anyone who wasn’t us. So disgusted with Native Americans is Captain Blocker that he refuses a direct order to take an Indian family to a reservation and doesn’t comply until threatened with a court-martial.

Rosamund Pike plays the sole survivor of an attack by a particularly ruthless tribe that came for their horses, killed her whole family and burned down their homestead. Pike’s character survives, cradling her dead baby in her arms until Blocker’s entourage stumbles upon her. For no reason except that it’s the right thing to do, Blocker gives her a warm blanket, helps her bury her children and before long she’s riding along on the mission with them.

She and Blocker and the Indian family are stuck together, enemies, but as they face common adversities they somehow must learn how to fight as one to survive. They’re a collection of broken individuals thrown together by circumstance. As their troubles mount they don’t have time to adhere to their preconceived hatred of one another. They must learn to trust each other. They have no other choice.

Some of this may sound like a cliché, but Cooper avoids facile assumptions by making things exponentially harder on his protagonist and fellow travelers. There isn’t going to be any easy way out of their plight. Despite the violence, moral ambiguity and growing body count, this is not a Western noir, because it’s ultimately not a film about hopelessness or despair, which it very well could have been.

Instead, Cooper offers up another way forward, another way to escape the guilty disenchantment of the merciless frontier. For an interminably bleak stretch, the movie seems seems to offer no way out — no way out of our dark and unforgivable American past, no way to break free from the unending grief of having your homeland taken from you by men on horseback with an endless supply of weapons, no way out of the unimaginable sorrow of losing all of your children in an instant.

No way out, until the doomed adversaries are swept up in shared realization — that the only way to make it out alive will be to stitch together what’s left of their shattered existence and discover a new and better definition of the right way to live.

“Hostiles” is beautifully filmed amid endless horizons by Masanobu Takayanagi, the cinematographer who shot both “Out of the Furnace” and “Black Mass.” It features another standout performance by Wes Studi as Chief Yellow Hawk. Pike is marvelous in her pivotal supporting turn. Ultimately, though, the film’s main artery is Bale, whose character undergoes an impossibly wide range of changes.

There aren’t many films that can illuminate important ideals, the things that really matter when the lights go out, when life comes to an end. Sometimes those ideals matter enough to die for them. Sometimes they matter enough to kill for them. And some of us are lucky enough that we can turn to art to remind us. Riveted by the glorious storytelling of “Hostiles,” a few Telluride audience members burst into spontaneous applause as it built to its conclusion.

Each of us packs whatever fragments we can salvage of ourselves after tragedies, and each of us struggles to piece together all that remains as we stumble through life. We can never erase who we are. We can’t ever atone for what we’ve done. We must, all of us, carry our history with us every day we live, in a land that was never ours.

Cooper has, with his splendid new film, given us yet another opportunity to help restore some of what we’ve taken. This latest incarnation of the great American Western finds its truth in the tangled roots of our own mythmaking.

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