Rob Reviews "Wind River
When actors decide they want to make the transition to the other side of the camera and direct films, it can be a dicey proposition. It makes me even more nervous when said actor to director decides they don’t have the acting out of their system and want to keep acting, but with “Wind River,” Taylor Sheridan (best known for “Sons of Anarchy,” but also the writer of both “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” with this completing his American Frontier Trilogy) separates himself in order to focus on directing a wonderful based-on-a-true-story tale.
Jeremy Renner plays Cory Lambert, a tracker who works for the Fish and Game Commission in Wyoming who gets caught up in the investigation of the murder of a young Native American woman on a local reservation during a series of brutal snowstorms. He partners with FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) as they try to navigate the elements and even the law as it pertains to the reservation itself and a very thin law enforcement department headed up by Gen (Graham Greene).
I know there is not much to the above summary, but that is all you really need to know about this film, besides the fact that I REALLY enjoyed it as one can do with the material involved. Make no mistake: this is a dark film that deals with very haunting subject matter, so there is quite a bit of weight to it, but Sheridan treats this story with the highest level of respect by allowing his very well written script to drive it while still shooting it beautifully. To see such beautiful landscaping (actually shot in Utah) take my breath away while still understanding the danger of what the elements bring from the wildlife to the weather and even the inhabitants add a great layer to the story, but what takes it to the next level is the score from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (not THAT Warren Ellis) that frames each and every scene perfectly without giving what is coming up ahead.
From a performance standpoint, I really dug the way that both Renner and Olsen dialed it WAY back within their characters with Renner keeping Lambert simple and focused on the task at hand and Olsen showing how Banner is just trying to do the right thing while attempting to understand the situation she in AND asserting the authority she has representing the Bureau. Greene gives great balance and levity to their dynamic while keeping his character involved as a reminder of the heightened sensitivity of their situation.
The Weinsteins’ eye for film strikes again here, and I am also looking forward to where Sheridan’s career behind the camera goes as well. For this being the second time he has helmed a film, this is incredibly impressive and should at least be on your “need to check out” list if not all the way to “must see”.