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.
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WIND RIVER is a chilling thriller that follows an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American Reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death. Written by
There has been next to no fanfare for the release of this murder mystery. Which is surprising, considering the talent involved in front of the camera (Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen) and behind it (writer-director Taylor Sheridan). Fresh from joining the ranks of top-tiered screenwriters after the amazing one-two punch of Sicario and Hell or High Water, Sheridan continues his stellar run with a heart-wrenching study of loss and grief wrapped in a taut crime thriller narrative. Also having a crack at directing, Sheridan allows the snowy Wyoming setting to completely envelope the characters in a world that feels like it has no exits, both physically and emotionally. When this Native American community is hit with a homicide it feels like another tragedy in a long line of tragedies; their shock is replaced with deeper sorrow, their outrage is replaced with solemn defeat. Entering the scene like a fish out of water, Olsen's junior FBI agent Jane Banner must traverse the tricky cultural complexities if she's to understand the clues in front of her. Luckily she has Renner's local hunter Cory Lambert to assist, himself battling with a past family disaster. Renner and Olsen are both in terrific form, the former hiding his grief under a stoic veneer, the latter balancing big-city attitude with a genuine desire to find justice for the victim. Veteran character actor Gil Birmingham is also superb as a father unsure of how to deal with his earth-shattering loss. If this all sounds a bit heavy, well it is, but Sheridan's careful to inject a healthy dose of suspense and mild action to keep the drama gripping rather than overbearing; the finale in particular turns the movie on its head in an unpredictable but extremely effective manner. An intelligent, slow burning and provocative viewing that enthrals from start to finish, Wind River is an understated gem that deserves an audience.
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