What can I say about Wind River? It’s a film that I sat down to watch without the faintest idea of what was about to unfold before my eyes, but one thing’s for sure, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Wind River tells the story of an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who’s called out to this remote reservation in Wyoming. She’s been sent there to investigate a murder, but it’s not long until she begins to feel completely out of her depth and so she enlists the help of a local huntsman (Jeremy Renner) who has himself quite the reputation when it comes to tracking.
Now Jeremy Renner’s performance in this is quite possibly the best I’ve seen from him since The Hurt Locker, with a lot of it being quite understated. You realize that he’s got his own motives for helping out Elizabeth Olsen’s character, but the more you come to learn about this, the more you really start to get a feel for those subtle nuances. It’s this level of detail which ends up making Wind River so heart wrenchingly powerful.
It’s not just your average murder mystery and it’s not to be mistaken for an action movie either, because whenever things really do kick off its vicious and graphic. If there’s a shootout then your made to feel each and every impact, in my case I was even made to jump a few times because that’s how immersed I had become in the film. When you see people dying it shocks and saddens you, it doesn’t just come across as sacks of meat dropping to the floor as their caught in a hail of bullets. I haven’t seen this level of gritty realism since 2015’s Sicario, so it was amusing to me when Taylor Sheridan’s name popped up on the end credits.
Taylor Sheridan wrote Sicario and 2016’s Hell or High Water, both exceptional films in their own right. He wrote this too, but what makes Wind River special is that it’s his directional debut and my god has he proved himself! The film is actually based around real life events and it brings to light just how unfairly Native Americans are treated by the government. The dialogue is flawless and at times can have a real bite to it, while Sheridan’s direction is superb. He just does such a great job of making the environment almost feel like a character of its own, creating a real sense of isolation and in a brutally unforgiving land such as this, all you can do is survive 8.5/10