Wind River tells the gripping yet disturbing story of a murder on a Native American reservation in Wyoming. Natalie, a young teenage girl was raped and froze to death after attempting to escape the assailant. After being discovered by a local Wildlife & Fisheries Tracker named Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), the police and FBI investigate and team up with Cory after realizing he has a unique connection. The FBI agent in charge is played by Elizabeth Olsen.
The film is the directorial debut for Taylor Sheridan (a clear fan of cowboy hats), the writer of Hell or High Water and Sicario. Sheridan’s direction in Wind River is flawlessly on point and his delivery of the film’s message is done impeccably through the film’s gloomy, poignant, and intense tone.
Jeremy Renner delivers one of his finest and most haunting performances yet. Given, that he is a well-rounded actor who can deliver fine performances from Hawkeye in The Avengers to a daring bomb disarmer in The Hurt Locker, Renner continues this pattern and gives us another unique and riveting performance. He makes it known that the character he’s playing has gone through harsh turmoil, and his acting makes it as clear and convincing as possible. Renner gives an enjoyable yet heart breaking performance with Wind River and seems to effortlessly become the focal point of the story.
The rest of the performances all around were very well done, giving us a truly suspenseful and engaging film. What surrounds these performances and gives them the real chance to shine on screen is the impeccable screenplay. The way Sheridan builds the suspense and keeps us wondering what truly happened to the girl, is genius. The entire film builds up our attention and makes us wonder what happened to her, scene after scene. When it finally is revealed towards the climax of the film, it is intense, brutal and disturbing.
The message at the end of the film is just as disturbing as the entirety of the film. Immediately before the credits roll, we’re shown a fact, that personally left me speechless. This fact encompasses the film as a whole and makes you realize why the film was made in the first place. Wind River is brutal, disturbing, stressful, and gloomy. While this film seems like it would be a suspenseful thriller, it is that, but it is more depressing than thrilling. It is important to keep in mind before that this film will surely bring down your mood after watching it. While everyone should see this film because of its flawless acting and screenplay, it still is not for everyone.
Overall Grade: A-