Wind River (2017)
Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene, Kelsey Asbille
A small town tracker (Renner) joins an unseasoned FBI agent (Olsen) in the hunt for the person or people who murdered a teenage girl.
This film was written and directed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water). The small cast includes Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves), and Kelsey Asbille (The Amazing Spider-Man).
This is a dark story that exists in the small world of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The writing does a nice job using minimal dialogue which lets the action and the camera tell much of the story. The story also creates a very uncomfortable tone that exists throughout the entire movie. The tone of the movie is accented by a number of twists and turns early in the story. the later part of the film is a bit more predictable, but works nicely in resolving the arcs of each of the main characters. This isn’t a great story, but it’s a very good one with a lot of nice twists. This is also a very gritty film that works through a series of gruesome and sad scenes. This isn’t as well written as Hell or High Water but Sheridan did a nice job with this one.
The actors all did a nice job with the material they were given for this one. Renner leads the way with a performance that might be one of his best. His ability to work with limited dialogue while communicating a ton of emotion really added a lot to the film. He also connected very well with the rest of the cast. Elizabeth Olsen also did some good work in this one. Her role really stood out due to the way her character was written. She was able to understand how to make that work without being overdone. The rest of the cast all add in solid performances as well. Overall, the material gave these actors a good base to build on, and they did some nice work with it.
Principal filming for this movie took advantage of the wonderful winter landscape of locations throughout Utah. Cinematographer Ben Richardson (Beasts of the Southern Wild) did an excellent job letting the landscape enter the film as a silent character. Additionally, he was able to use his skills to let the action speak as strongly as the dialogue. The film is also edited nicely, and featured a solid score from Nick Cave (Lawless) and Warren Ellis (The Proposition).
This is a solid film that exists in a very dark and gritty world. Fans of films like Sicario or Hell or High Water should make sure to check this one out. I would also suggest this one to fans of the Coen brother’s brand of film noir since this seems to carry similar tones. Fans of the stars will also want to see this one. While this isn’t a perfect film, there is a lot to like. I give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.