The loss of hope can be a powerful motivator. In Wind River the characters face this hopelessness in the form of two paths; a path of righteousness in an attempt to fill a void or a much darker path that leads to nothing but more heartache. In random moments these paths clash and violence erupts without warning. Much like the environment the people find themselves in, they must navigate the treacherous nature of the strangers around them. In such a bleak place with nothing around and civilization is an almost rumor, law is simply an empty badge and gun and in these parts everyone is armed.
Taylor Sheridan has only written three films so far and yet in such a short time he has become a highly sought after talent. Sicario, Hell or High Water and now Wind River all bring to life harsh environments and the people shaped by them. These are flawed, raw characters that have adapted to their surroundings, for better or worse. And now with Wind River Sheridan can add director to his already stellar resume. It’s safe to say that Deputy Hale (Sons of Anarchy) is the real deal behind the camera.
This is a film that has an equal and opposite for everything. An honest FBI agent chases a rapist murderer. A sunny day pouring over snowy terrain gives way to unforgiving snow flurries and full blown blizzards. An evil for every good and an ugly for every beauty. The ugliness of the harsh weather is a mirror of the ugliness of man and it is nearly unbearable to watch such deplorable scum walk this earth. They are a product of man’s inability to care beyond ourselves. Luckily there are the few that look beyond themselves for the greater good; much like Elizabeth Olsen’s character seeking to bring justice to a slain young woman. As the enemies she faces match their ugly domain, her beauty and toughness match the allure of the softer side of such a pitiless place.
I’ll try not to sound demented or crazy but a favorite aspect of mine from Sheridan’s films are the sudden explosions of realistic violence. They aren’t exactly plentiful but when these moments erupt they are abhorrent and final. But above all they are honest, they are a candid window into the world of law enforcement, drug cartels, rapists, murderers, and everything in between. Wind River is a mystery heaped in bloody snow and deceit. The characters are unsound but trying to move forward in whatever manner that may mean.
Jeremy Renner aids Olsen’s character as a guide in his “backyard” of snow, mountains and wildlife. Together they discover a scenario that has left at least one dead and no apparent reason for the brutality of the crime. Hunter and agent use their respective skills to take down an evil that is unfortunately, as I’ve said, merely a product of the frozen tundra they find themselves in. This points to the idea that this is simply the current problem, not the final one. Another girl will go missing, another will be discovered in truly horrific conditions. This isn’t stopping and that is the real tragedy here. This snowy prison will cause a stir in someone else forcing them to lose their sanity and crime will again rear its ugly head. There is a finish to this film but the catharsis is minimal and finite.
If you enjoyed his previous efforts, Sicario and Hell or High Water, Wind River will be a welcomed addition to this unofficial Frontier trilogy. The happiness is minimal, the tragedy plenty but it is undoubtedly enthralling from beginning to end. This is one hell of a murder mystery and I highly recommend it if it’s playing in your area.
Rated R For: strong violence, a rape, disturbing images, and language
Runtime: 107 minutes
Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery
After Credits Scene: No
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene, Eric Lange, Julia Jones
Directed By: Taylor Sheridan
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4.5/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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