WIND RIVER – Opens Aug 10 – Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker), Elizabeth Olsen. Oscar-nominated Taylor Sheridan, who wrote both the acclaimed Sicario and the simply magnificent Hell or High Water makes his directorial debut with another Cannes award winner of a script.
Renner plays Cory Lambert, a local wildlife officer in the bitterly cold winter mountains of Wyoming. While hunting a mountain lion that killed some cattle on the Wind River Indian Reservation, Lambert finds the barefoot, frozen body of a murdered teenage girl in the wilderness.
Working with FBI agent Jane Banner (Olsen) to find her killer, Lambert has to confront his own tragic past, as they navigate the spartan, dying culture and unforgiving conditions in search of answers.
Haven’t managed to catch Sicario yet, but Wind River has something very much in common with Sheridan’s previous writing effort, Hell of High Water – and I’m sure it’s no coincidence. Something besides an excellent plot and poignant economy of dialogue. His characters and situations manage to say a whole lot about the larger truths that loom immense and dark behind and practically overshadowing the story playing itself out in the foreground.
In Hell of High Water, it was banks and their big-ticket corporate customers that enjoy a different set of rules to we little people and which led to what played out in the storyline. In Wind River, it’s the literal and ongoing rape and murder of Native American culture and the chilling underlying logic behind it that has gone on uninterrupted, but under different names, since the arrival of Europeans.
There’s so much more I’d like to write about here, but won’t. Suffice to say that this film, too, speaks a slightly veiled but nonetheless very powerful truth, that could cause a viewer to clench a fist in outrage, perhaps without knowing exactly why, which I’m pretty sure is Director Sheridan’s intention. Others will understand precisely why.
RATING: 4 out of 5