MOVIE REVIEW: Wind River

Thriller starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.  A young girl is found in the middle of a frozen expanse, she has been assaulted sexually, and it’s down to a single FBI agent and a Wildlife Hunter to find those responsible for her death.

Last year, at the end of the 12 months where we sit in judgement of all things Movies, just as we thought that we had picked our top 10’s of the year, Hell or High Water came out and just changed everything.  The cast of Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, and Ben Foster all hitting their marks with ease and perfection and a story where you think you had a grasp on what is going on and then everything is turned on its head.  That was one of the best films of last year and the writer of that film, along with Sicario, steps behind the camera for directing duties and if Wind River is his starting point, then for me, I’ll be following his directorial efforts very closely.

The film starts with Renner hunting the natural predators that live around the frozen landscape of the Native American Reservation Wind River.  He’s hunting down a mountain lion that is killing cattle.  While tracking the lion he finds the body of young girl that he knows.  Having lost his own daughter a few years back it stirs a sense of duty in him as he helps the lone FBI agent sent to solve the crime.

Wind River reminds me of the film The Silence of the Lambs, it’s far from as horrifying as the Anthony Hopkins thriller, but the steady silence of the true world that both films conveyed.  The isolation of the icy wilderness and the lack of a major town to fall back on for background brings you straight into the world that these people live in.  The fish out of what character, the FBI agent played by Olsen, offers a character that the viewer can relate to.  We are Olsen in that we don’t know the world or the politics of the reservations.  The Writer/Director knows that we need to be reminded of how the Native American people and culture has been treated by the system, but doesn’t spend too much time flogging the dead horse.

The flaws here are that Renner is starting to resemble Charles Bronson’s acting style, where there is little given away, and his stone face is offered as acting.  Also there is something about Olsen that just bothers me and I can’t figure out what it is.  But the build up to the finale is about as good as thrillers get these days.  All the flaws that you find are wiped away by the whole package being a slow-paced thriller that you cannot afford to miss.

If you liked Hell or High Water or Sicario then Wind River brings you more of the same while being completely different as well.  Taylor Sheridan has brought the Western into the modern world, with the same tension as all the best horse operas of the past.  The finale of the film just made me giddy with excitement and reminded me of the finale of Reservoir Dogs, there is nothing like an insane shootout to make you happy.  You may not think that this is your cup of iced tea, but you should be going to see this modern classic.  The supporting cast all provide the realism and the situations are kept with their feet firmly planted on the ice.

Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Kelsey AsbilleJeremy RennerJulia Jones & More… See full cast & crew

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