Wind River (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier 

Wind River.png

Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Kelsey Asbille, Jeremy Renner, Julia Jones, Elizabeth Olsen

Plot:  A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.

Running Time: 1 hour 47 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 87%   Audience 90%

Why I Watched This: Well look at the 5 from Rotten Tomatoes, it had huge buzz on the festival circuit and the trailer looked good as well.

Random Thoughts: One thing that I should mention is that of course Renner and Olsen are also in the MCU and have done Avenger movies to together but here’s something I knew that but never once thought about during the movie.

Writer Director Taylor Sheridan is on a roll and now that he’s directing he could be a huge player in the near future if he can keep the quality up.

What I Liked: First off this is a very well made movie, top to bottom it’s one of those films that grabs you keeps you in the moment.  I was very happy to find out for myself that the buzz was earned.  This is not only as well written, directed and acted film but an adult film, and I don’t mean language or violence I mean theme and approach.  The film is taunt but it never feels like just a thriller there’s just too much going on.

This might be a little overblown but I think this is Jeremy Renner’s best work, he’s so good here, he never over plays, he never goes for the big moment he plays it small he plays in mostly inside of himself.  He does some great work here with facial expression and his eyes, he’s a damaged man, a man who lost something and he’ll never get it back but yet he goes on and I think that one point is what makes this film special.  We’ve seen a ton of movie about grieve and a lot of time there used as plot points or to show why the lead is the way he is here we see a man who had dealt with something and is living his life and even though the case he’s walked into hit’s home he knows it’s not about him it’s about another family and the scenes where he talks to the father are some of the films best.  The best thing about Renner’s performance is that it feels real it doesn’t feel like showy or Oscar bait.

While we’re talking acting give credit to Elizabeth Olsen cause her role is that of the outsider and we really don’t learn much about her but she breaths life into an underwritten role and does really well. Also nice to see the great Graham Greene, so good and so underused he gets a good role here and he fits in very well, that’s the thing with the film the tone and the structure work very well, this film in almost all areas feels like a well oiled machine. I have to also give credit to Taylor Sheridan he pulled off a rare thing he made a thriller that didn’t seem cheesy or exploitive and a drama that didn’t feel like a cliched melodrama.  I’ve said a lot of good things about this film but I have one more and that this is a very good thriller, it’s tense and it has real stakes and you care what happens to these people and yes the location is great and it does well cold you get the scope of the place.

What I Didn’t Like: There’s not much I have two things one is a nitpick and one is bigger and maybe the only flaw for me in the film.  It’s the finale the reveal of the bad guys, this just didn’t feel right, these villains didn’t feel like real people, they were monsters and we know nothing of them and they go way over the top, I mean they did what they did because why?  Plus there’s more than one so all these guys are monsters, I would have bought if they weren’t thrown out at the end and honestly we know nothing of them, they’re pretty much just stock bad guys who do bad things cause they’re bad.  For a film so well written I excepted more. The other point is that in the end shootout a lot of people are killed and they’re not brought  up and we don’t see the aftermath this film is about lost and a bunch of people lost they’ve lives for this case and we moved on pretty fast to get to our two main characters.

Final Thoughts:  It’s a good film, not perfect but close.  I’ll also give credit for keeping the film under 2 hours and for keeping the pace and tension up.  It’s a must watch.

Rating: 8/10

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