Wind River follows a rookie FBI Agent, Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), who teams up with a local game tracker, Corey Lambert (Jeremy Renner), with community ties and a deep knowledge of the area to investigate the murder of a local teenage girl.
Taylor Sheridan, who previously wrote Sicario and Hell or High Water, makes his directorial debut with the thrilling and emotionally resonant Wind River, which he also wrote. Sheridan's directorial debut is a stark, haunting and beautiful Western thriller filled with poetic dialogue and breathtaking cinematography.
Jeremy Renner (Arrival) delivers the strongest performance of his career as a gritty and determined hunter. Renner has always been great at being the stoic leading man, which makes the sparing moments of him letting his guard down all the more effective. Renner is a quiet and commanding presence as Corey, a tracker with a rough history and a determination and duty to bring those responsible for the death of a local girl to justice. Elizabeth Olsen (Captain America: Civil War) also delivers a career best performance as Jane, an FBI agent sent down to Wyoming on her own to investigate the murder. She arrives unprepared and requires the help of Corey to help her track down the suspects. Jane is good at her job, but she's in unfamiliar territory. The performances are stellar and thankfully our two leads are never forced into a romantic relationship despite Renner and Olsen having terrific chemistry.
Sheridan creates such a vivid sense of place, a cold and isolated wilderness. The sweeping cinematography and haunting score really add to the mystery and the sense of isolation that Sheridan is creating. The film is heavy with symbolism and none of it ever feels heavy-handed; when we're introduced to Renner's character, he is prone in camouflage shooting Wolves to protect Sheep. We learn that the victim whom Renner discovers was the best friend of his late daughter. He isn't just going on this investigation to bring a murderer to justice, he's also on a journey of redemption for himself, a way to make up for not being able to do anything about the possible murder of his daughter.
Wind River is a deeply atmospheric, shockingly brutal and surprisingly emotional whodunit with terrific performances and an incredible script. This is straight forward crime story but one told in an absolutely sublime way with all the right elements. Wind River is easily a must see for 2017.
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