Starring Brittany Ashworth, Grégory Fitoussi, Javier Botet
Directed by Mathieu Turi
Hostile isn’t exactly a bad film, but it’s a film centered entirely around its twist ending. I won’t say what the twist was, but I will say that it seemed to be the entire reason why the film existed, as if nothing else mattered.
For instance, we are never told how the world came to be a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland. Now, I understand that most apocalyptic films also don’t bother to explain how the world came to be that way, but in Hostile the lack of an explanation was all the more irritating because we see flashback sequences set in New York City, where everything is shown as being perfectly normal. And the main character looks practically the same age in these sequences as she does in the rest of the film, so we’re supposed to believe that in just a few short years the world went from being exactly the same as it is now, to being Mad Max: Fury Road? Even under the Trump presidency, I don’t think such a change could have happened so quickly.
Logistics aside, Brittany Ashworth gave absolutely everything as Juliette, a woman trying to survive in the nightmare the world has become. And, unlike in so many other films of this kind, Juliette is a real, rounded character and not just some fearless road warrior. Through the sequences set in NYC, we see how she goes from being a desperate junkie living in poverty to falling in love with a rich museum curator played by Grégory Fitoussi, despite the fact that he holds her hostage to help her kick her addiction (Stockholm syndrome, I guess) to learning that she cannot have children because of the damage the drugs have done to her body.
Then in the future in which the bulk of the film takes place, she breaks her leg alone in the desert at night and finds herself incapacitated and hunted by ravenous zombie-like creatures. The fact that we experience such pivotal moments of her life, in addition to minor details such as the fact that she has a slight reading disability, makes Juliette an incredibly strong and well-rounded protagonist, and a far more interesting and believable character than Tom Hardy’s almost silent Max in the aforementioned Fury Road (Hostile is also a vastly superior film).
So, the twist. Let’s just say you probably won’t see it coming; but when it happens, well, it really does seem like the entire plot of the film was centered around it. And that may bother some people, and others will probably see it as masterful storytelling, so make of it what you will. Either way, Hostile certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s still one hell of an effective mixture of horror and sci-fi with a fantastic central performance. Definitely worth checking out.