—Eric Annet, Public Relations—
Wind River is directed and written by Taylor Sheridan, who has written Hell or High Water and Sacario. He paints beautiful films that depict America in dark ways that are shockingly true and this film is no different. The movie is super dark and one of the most violent films I seen this year. Most people see Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen as no more than Avengers, but this film helps portray them in a new light. Wind River is a tough look at life in America for the Native American community, showing some social commentary about politics. The plot is easy to follow and very intriguing, but very mature in tone. At times the film seems to rely too heavily on shock factor and jump scares. Also, the cinematography is somewhat lower quality compared to other films that Taylor Sheridan has done in the past.
The plot follows Jeremy Renner’s character, Cory, as a wildlife officer that protects cattle from predators. He finds an eighteen year old girl dead from a homicide in a remote snowy area. Cory helps a FBI agent, Jane (Elizabeth Olsen), investigate the murder. As the plot goes forwards we see through the eyes of her and how she is a fish out of water. Jeremy Renner mostly helps her figure out the murder, because she isn’t use to the kind of environment of a rural area When it’s revealed what exactly happened, to the victim, it wouldn’t have been surprising if some audience members walked out, because it’s just so disturbing. Also, an extra character appears. Justice is served, but does not compare to the injustices done to the Native Americans living on reservations.
Jeremy Renner, as Cory, is the most detailed character. We learn the most about him and back story. He is divorced and his eldest daughter has passed away and now he shares custody of his son with his ex-wife. His past haunts him, but it doesn’t defines him. In a way he is similar to Batman, severing justice wherever needed, except he’s Hawkeye. Everyone in a scene with has chemistry and plays off well, especially Elizabeth Olsen, given her experience working with him previously. Alongside Cory, Jane learns how different things are out in the middle of the country, and she becomes to accept the ways things are. Overall, she doesn’t really seem to understand how things are different from the way on the west coast.
The most intense moments are very violent, disturbing, and terrifying all at the same time, really taking the R rating to it’s fullest. The mistreatment of Indian women is shown as routine and acceptable for the time. The women are depicted as almost second class citizens. At the end it notes that many Indian women go missing and the cases mostly go unsolved. The film sheds light on several other misconducts in the Indian community that are also shockingly true, such as heroin addiction, alcoholism and self harm.
What it whittles down to in this movie is the nitty grittiness of it. The actors are all very into their roles as if they were actually the characters they were playing. The story is extremely deep and explores the dark roots of the Native American community (despite the white leads of the film). It is mostly fiction, but takes into account a lot real issues dealt with by the community. Overall, this film is one of the best examples of filmmaking this year and definitely some of Taylor Sheridan best work.