WIND RIVER is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American Reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death.
What We Thought:
Wind River isn’t quite this year’s Hell or High Water, but I still liked it overall. I bring up that film because the writer/director of this (Taylor Sheridan) wrote that film as well. Going into the screening of Wind River I honestly had no idea what it was about. I hadn’t seen a trailer, I just knew Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen were in it and that was good enough for me.
Olsen plays a young FBI agent sent to an Indian Reservation to investigate the death of a young local. Renner plays a wild game tracker who knows the area and helps her with her investigation. Renner’s character lost a child himself and although he’s not a native of the reservation, his ex-wife is and he is respected around town.
What I liked about the film is that it combines a good crime drama with the look and feel of a Western. Hell or High Water was very similar and you can tell Sheridan paid attention. I grew up watching Westerns and you expect long sweeping shots and beautiful backdrops. This has them in spades. The mountainsides and rural roads look fantastic on the big screen and there are some amazing visuals in the film. The coloring and shading are beautiful as well with incredible whites, blues and yellows.
Then there is the story. On face value it comes across as just another investigation movie, but there is a lot more to it. It has a message, but doesn’t beat you over the head with it. Hell, some viewers might have some of it go over their head. In one scene Olsen’s character says the body has to be listed as a homicide or she can’t stay to investigate. Because it’s reservation land, laws and rules are different. How the natives view authority and those laws/rules are also different. Sheridan gives us a little peek at life on a reservation without being super heavy-handed about it.
The film tackles a lot of issues without forcing them down your throat. Money and the economy come into play. Some of the natives are poor and use drugs or drink because of a lack of opportunities. There are jobs and men who come to that area for them and their interactions with the natives becomes a huge plot point. I won’t spoil it because it’s a smart turn in the story.
I don’t think Wind River will blow away people, but I liked it. It’s smart and looks nice and there’s a fantastic shoot out in it that caught me off guard. Renner and Olsen continue to be solid actors and if you are tired of Summer Blockbusters, this is a good adult drama to tie you over till Oscar season.
Cast & Crew:
- Taylor Sheridan
- Jeremy Renner
- Elizabeth Olsen
- Gil Birmingham
- Jon Bernthal
- Julia Jones
Recommended If You Like:
- Hell or High Water