Wind River – Film Review
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Kelsey Asbille, Jeremy Renner, Julia Jones
A young woman is found dead, seemingly frozen to death, on the Native American reserve of Wind River, Wyoming. She is found miles away from any habitation and barefoot. The FBI send a representative to carry out an investigation. A young agent by the name of Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen). The autopsy suggests rape but it is not listed as homicide, as she froze. Banner knows a crime has been committed, but as it is not a homicide, she does not have the full resources of the FBI behind her. She enlists the help of a local hunter, Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), to help solve the crime.
This is a film written and directed by Taylor Sheridan. He is best known as the writer who previously wrote Hell or High Water and Sicario. This is only his second film as a director and he does a remarkable job with it. His first was the relatively low budget horror film Vile from 2011, which did not live long in the memory. This film shows that he has considerable quality as a director to go along with his writing skills, which should launch him on a long career. He is also an actor and has appeared on TV shows such as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Party of Five, so he has had quite a chequered career! He is no overnight success and it is his skill as a writer which has taken him to this point.
While you may have some reservations with Elizabeth Olsen playing an unlikely FBI agent, so do the local police agents that meet her. She was sent to investigate the crime because she was the closest agent to the location and not because of any particular expertise. Elizabeth does have some history in serious drama, with the wonderful Martha Marcy May Marlene from 2011. She has since gone on to star as the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers series, but this is a return to a more serious topic. With Jeremy Renner also involved, this is something of an Avengers reunion, as he plays Hawkeye in the series. In this, he’s another shrp shooter in the form of hunter Cory Lambert.
It is a tightly worked story that moves at quite a pace. While the tale is relatively straight forward, it is mostly about the characters and the town it is set in. As it is a Native American reserve, it shows the conditions in which they live and the widespread use of drugs in the community. The dialogue can be a bit corny at times, and Renner is possibly a little too intense, but otherwise there’s a lot to enjoy. There is plenty of blood splattered in this fiesty and hard working thriller, which is well worth checking out.