Harrowing is probably a mild way of describing this movie, but add to that the words beautiful and heartbreaking and you will get a feel for the type of movie it is.
The opening scene is enough to test the hardest of hearts when Rosalie’s (Pike) entire family are slain by Comanche Indians. She escapes, not realising that the baby in her arms is dead. To say she is broken is an understatement, but as the film progresses she shows a strength of character and an unbiased nature that we should all strive for.
The second story thread is with Sgt Joe Blocker (Bale), a decorated soldier who is about to retire, but is given one last assignment – to take a Cheyenne Indian Chief, who is dying from “the” cancer, and his family home. Chief Yellow Hawk and Blocker have crossed swords on many occasions and each has as dark and despicable a past as the other. Blocker despises the Chief and all his “kind” stand for and refuses outright to do it, until he is threatened with the loss of his pension.
The two stories collide when Blocker and his party come across Rosalie’s burnt out house and find her inside with her dead children.
What follows is a raw look at how bigotry, racism, hatred and fear can be overcome in the face of adversity, how people can learn to live alongside one another and work together towards a common goal and how hatred and can turn into friendship and respect.
For me, this is a movie that everyone should go and watch, given the intolerant and hate filled world we are living in. There are lessons to be learned.