'Hostiles' and the Aesthetics of Advertising

Resident copywriter, Luke Hanley, scrutinizes the beauty of Scott Cooper's film, 'Hostiles', with the entirely subjective eye of a word-thinker surrounded by creative designers.

Picture of Luke Hanley

Luke Hanley

Every day we see something beautiful. It might be something real, something hyper-real, maybe something somewhere in between. Most days we probably don't take notice, allowing the passive mind to filter what's important, and losing the beauty in between.

But every once in a while. We stop. And take a long, longing look. And when I do, my brain invariably tortures me with the questions, "Why don't I do this more? Why don't I notice art more? Where am I missing it?"

This week, I had one such moment. I was in the same cinema I wish I visited more, drinking a cappuccino with two shots of espresso and one of pretention, and Scott Cooper's 'Hostiles' was playing on the matt-grey screen. And I was entranced. Hooked on every frame so perfectly composed by Masanobu Takayanagi. Transported by every beat of Max Richter's score. Transfixed by every ever-so-beautiful subtlety to Christian Bale's performance.

It is something that has only happened maybe a handful of times in this last eleven years. Danny Boyle's 'Sunshine' is the only other I can attest with absolute certainty.

But as I left the cinema, I realised something rather poignant, albeit a bit soppy.

Before I get to it, let me be clear. I adore words. Embarrassingly so. As a copywriter, I get to sit and conjure words all day long. But no matter how much I love words, I will always agree that a picture paints a thousand better than any word can express itself. And as I discussed in my previous blog, a word unsaid can be an unrivaled beauty against a perfectly executed ode.

Now, what dawned on me was quite obvious, but like so many beautiful things, it - perhaps ignorantly - had gone unnoticed. As I sit scribbling illegibly, thinking in words, there are people all around me creating art. Designers and videographers, illustators and editors, all piecing together works of sheer beauty.

When I notice them is the second I leave the office. When and where I should notice them: Billboards and AdShels as I drive home, filling the columns of papers and magazines, strategically placed around the corners of my social channels.

Sometimes my words have the honour of going hand in hand with those works. Sometimes I hear them on the radio. Sometimes I forget for a moment they were even mine to begin with, and get to enjoy listening with fresh ears like any audience should.

So I suppose where this ramble leads is this - 'Hostiles' is a work of art; something beautiful which I witnessed in the right place at the right time. Is advertising any different?

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