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Sandy Journal

Dan's Review: "Wind River" adds to Taylor Sheridan's great body of work

Sep 01, 2017 03:16PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner in Wind River - © 2017 the Weinstein Company

Wind River (The Weinstein Company)

Rated R for strong violence, a rape, disturbing images, and language.

Starring Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Gil Birmingham, Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones, Kelsey Chow, Graham Greene, Martin Sensmeier, Tyler Laracca, Gerald Tokala Clifford, James Jordan, Eric Lange, Ian Bohen, Hugh Dillon, Matthew Del Negro, Teo Briones, Tantoo Cardinal, Apesanahkwat, Althea Sam.

Written and Directed by Taylor Sheridan.



Taylor Sheridan is on a roll. The actor-turned-screenwriter-turned-director has made a niche for himself as an incredible storyteller, albeit via some very dark tales. After penning the acclaimed Sicario in 2015 and Hell or High Water in 2016, Sheridan moves to the director’s seat for his latest work, Wind River.   

Jeremy Renner plays Cory Lambert a US Fish and Wildlife working on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming (the film was shot almost entire in Summit County, Utah). While investigating cougars responsible for killing cattle, Lambert discovers the body of 18-year-old Natalie (Kelsey Chow) a woman who lived on the reservation. FBI Special Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is called in from Las Vegas to investigate. Also helping is Ben (Graham Greene), the tribal police chief. As the investigation proceeds, Cory must deal with emotions over his own daughter’s death two years prior, while trying to comfort Natalie’s grieving father Martin (Gil Burningham). Using his skills as hunter, Cory and Special Agent Banner track down clues and the disturbing truth behind Natalie’s death, culminating with a deadly confrontation in the wilderness.

Wind River is an excellent film, showcasing Sheridan’s gift for cinematic tragedy. Perhaps his greatest skill is drawing authentic and sympathetic characters and interpreting those persona to the screen in simple, understated fashion. Jeremy Renner gives his best performance since Hurt Locker, depicting a methodical man with deep scars hiding just under his tough exterior. Elizabeth Olsen’s performance is equally brilliant, providing an outsider’s view of the difficult reservation life. Graham Greene, Gil Burningham and Kelsey Chow round a great supporting cast, which also includes Jon Bernthal in a short cameo (no spoilers).

Wind River adds to Sheridan’s growing list of quality films, and I look forward to his next projects.     

Wind River Trailer