Wednesday 20 December 2017

Wind River (2017)

Last year, Taylor Sheridan's script made for one of the most complex and intense films of recent years, Hell or High Water. This year, in the role of both writer and director, he brought us Wind River, another brilliant thriller-western movie. 

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a tracker for the Fish and Wildlife Service in the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. One day, while tracking down a lion, he discovers the frozen body of a young Native American woman, Natalie (Kelsey Asbille). Rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent there to investigate the murder, and she teams up with Cory to unravel the mystery surrounding Natalie's death.


Wind River has many things in common with Sheridan's other work (I'm yet to see Sicario), one of those being the plot. It's quite simple and straightforward and it does have some clich├ęs here and there that eventually lead to underdeveloped subplots (the main character having a kid who is upset because his father spends too much time doing his job, to name one) and yet it's very intriguing and engaging, but most of all, barely a moment is wasted. Almost everything and everyone has a reason to be there. 

Which leads me to the characters, another thing this film as in common with Hell or High Water. They are interesting characters because they are portrayed as human beings, not simple stereotypes. In other words, they feel real.

The Weinstein Company
The credits go both to Sheridan for writing them, but mostly to the actors who delivered them. Jeremy Renner is brilliant as Cory. His portrayal of a man who is in a lot of pain and is struggling with the loss of his daughter is outstanding -- this is what the film is about after all, how a father must learn and accept the fact that his daughter is never coming home. The character could have been explored a little more though. I'm not blaming Renner, he just didn't have enough time to do so. Anyway, Elizabeth Olsen gives a strong performance as Jane Banner even though at times she reminded me of Jodie Foster's Clarice Starling. Graham Green is the standout in the supporting cast. He plays Ben, the friendly local sheriff who is helping in the investigation, brilliantly. Also great is Gil Birmingham who delivers a heartbreaking performance as Martin, the victim's father. 

Wind River also benefits from breathtaking cinematography and scenery. The snowy setting provides the film with the perfect atmosphere and a quite gloomy mood. And the score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is beautifully haunting. 

My only problem with this film? The violence. I'm not one of those people who complain about violence in movies. Actually, I kinda like it when it's got a point. The problem with Wind River is that. The violence is kept to a minimum as a narrative device, but was the rape really necessary? It was brutal. 

2 comments:

  1. You should definitely see Sicario it's so good. I thought that had a bit more in common with Wind River than HOHW did, but both films were so good that I didn't care. The rape in this was brutal. I get why they put it there, but I wish I could unsee it.

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    1. Me too. I will watch Sicario as soon as I can.

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