Cinematic Releases: Wind River (2017) Reviewed

From the writer that gave us Hell or High Water and Sicario comes the new modern thriller, Wind River. Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan's latest is another slow burn that pits an FBI agent and a game warden against a stark environment that's just as brutal as the story that takes place. Serving as both director and writer, Sheridan offers up a dramatic motion picture that plays much like his previous works. The plot is extremely dynamic, only serving up small portions of action and violence when they're absolutely needed. 

Taking place on a massive Native American reservation, the scenery is beautiful to look at while the inherent evils of man make another grandiose entry as the movie hits its peak. Much like Sicario, the film centers on a female agent that's out of her element and must fit into the typically male dominated area of field work. Pairing with the highly skilled tracker played by Renner, Olsen is put through a gamut of emotions and volatile situations that test her will. The result is a calculated motion picture that once again lets Sheridan show his verifiable control over realistic dialogue and character development. Again, the movie definitely drags a bit but is highlighted by one of the best and most brutal confrontations of 2017. After a long build up, things get messy with a major payoff. 

With Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen taking the lead roles, Wind River is a powerful character study that will definitely continue the trend of Sheridan hype. His stories seem to connect on a human level, never forgetting that the people in his stories exist in our world. As a companion piece to Hell or High Water, Wind River is another story about everyday people that are suddenly thrown into a whirlwind that they never expected. Renner and Olsen both play calm and collected very well. Renner's character has just enough back story to keep him under a veil of mystery and Olsen is great at capturing the breathless new agent that has no idea what she's in for. Both escape the trappings of their Marvel counterparts and bring something fresh to these roles.  

Avenge this, snow beast!

Some may have a hard time with Wind River since it poses many scenes of violence towards women. There are scenes of rape and icy cold death. This is definitely a motion picture that treads a fine line between heroism and the depressive state of the script. Simply put, it's a hard watch that ultimately delivers a great story that's lined by sadness and death. The brutality and realism may be a bit much for some audience members. Those that can't handle scenes of man on woman violence may not have the best time watching this movie. 

If you've been a fan of his other works, I'd suggest checking this out. Just know that this movie has no happiness. It's a bleak product of our time that captures the best and worst of mankind when thrown into the bleak and wintry landscape of Wyoming's Native American Reservation.