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The word on the street is that Christian Bale is very very likely indeed to be bagging an Oscar nomination for his performance as Captain Joseph J Blocker in this bloodthirsty, coruscating tale of murder, redemption and morality set in the American Frontier in 1892, as the Indian Wars are finally ending.

The story starts as a savage gang of Indians attack and butcher a white settler family, in a cabin in the wilds of Arizona. Only the mother Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike) survives. She is severely traumatized when, wandering in the wilderness, she meets Captain Block, who is travelling with rag-tag bunch of soldiers escorting home a long-time army prisoner, the dying Chief Yellowhawk, back to his ancestral lands in Montana.

Once, the shattered, suicidal Rosalie joins his strange little army, Blocker has to assume responsibility for everyone, which becomes all the more scary when they are joined by a shifty, sinister character Philip Wills (Ben Foster) and then have to traverse Comanche territory, where local tribes are going to attack anyone trespassing their land. And as these and have to pull themselves together to face down the fearsome local tribes.

A beautifully photographed, slow-burning Western with brilliant cast, all combine to create a violent, bloody yet ultimately uplifting study of the resilience and inner strength of its characters. And did we say Bale blew us away in this? See for yourself, in one of the true bravura performances of DIFF 2017.
2017 / English and Cheyenne dialogue with Arabic and English subtitles / Colour / 127 mins
Genre: Adventure, Drama and Western
Programme: Cinema of the World
Premiere: MENA Premiere
Rating: 18+
Contains: Violence and Rape
Director: Scott Cooper
Producer: Ken Kao, John Lesher, Scott Cooper
Scriptwriter: Scott Cooper, John Lesher, Ken Kao
DOP: Masanobu Takayanagi
Editor: Tom Cross
Composer: Max Richter
Cast: Christian Bale, Peter Mullan, Rosamund Pike, Adam Beach, Wes Studi, Q'orianka Kilcher, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, Ben Foster
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