Wind River (2017)
8/10
What a Start For Taylor Sheridan
19 August 2017
Crime dramas have always been one of my favorite genres of filmmaking, especially the ones that take themselves seriously and pose interesting questions about life. Wind River takes the genre up in the cold, snowy tundra of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Gritty, brutal, and well-timed action, Wind River builds a simply structured crime film into an important conversation about missing persons with a great storyteller and one great cast.

Coming from writing the likes of Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan is really making a career for himself. It's hard to imagine it's the same guy who made those short acting cameos in Veronica Mars back in the day, but Sheridan is separating himself from the pack in terms of his writing skills. I won't say that Wind River reaches the heights that either of his other two writing efforts did, but the sheer power of the subject matter of this film may take this film into Oscar season.

Jeremy Renner stars as Corey Lambert, a man with a tragic past, teams with Jane Banner (an FBI agent played by Elizabeth Olsen) to solve a murder. It's easy to label Banner as the "out of place woman who needs the help of a hardened man", because it can appear that way at first glance. But I'll view it as two people who cross paths with each other and end up working together to better their current situations. It also doesn't hurt that both Renner and Olsen have pre- established chemistry from the Marvel films, and dynamite together on screen.

However, I do believe that Sheridan could have done a slightly better job of directing the tone of Wind River. There were times where it seemed the actors were giving endearing performances and monologues, only to be sometimes interrupted by a subtle joke or a lighthearted comment. I think that just a minor change in direction of his actors would have changed those moments for the better. With that said, Sheridan's brutal touch of action when the film calls for it is impressive to say the least. It's those moments that helps put a realistic layer to Wind River.

Overall, Wind River is a grounded but moving take on murder, rape, and missing persons cases. Solid performances, sharp script, and nuanced storytelling, Wind River is a fascinating crime drama.

8.0/10
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