Wind River is easily the best movie I’ve seen over the past few years, though admittedly I gravitate more toward slow-burn crime-dramas and it’s a great follow-up to Hell or High Water and is an excellent directorial debut for Taylor Sheridan.
Genre(s): Drama, Crime
Lionsgate | R – 107 min. – $34.99 | November 14, 2017
Date Published: 11/09/2017 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 4.5/5
Note: This review contains SPOILERS on the plot, so readers beware.
Survive or surrender.
The riveting Wind River marks Taylor Sheridan’s third film in his modern American West genre, following Sicario and Hell or High Water and marks his directorial debut. These movies spotlight some of the more unfamiliar and oft forgotten elements of American society, far away from the bright lights of Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The film takes place in the tiny Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (JEREMY RENNER) works to rid the area of animal predators and soon finds himself on the hunt for the human variety when he comes upon the body of 18-year-old Natalie Hanson, the daughter of a good friend. The girl had been raped and murdered.
The FBI sends in young agent Jane Banner (ELIZABETH OLSEN) to investigate, much to the bemusement of the locals, including the girl’s father (GIL BIRMINGHAM). Banner enlists Lambert’s help to be a guide for the area and soon enough follow clues that lead to some of the more sketchy folks in the region.
On the surface, this neo-Western thriller is rather straight-forward with the story but this is less about finding the killer, which is more of a revelation rather than some sort of a twist and instead is a story of grief and sorrow with Renner’s Lambert character having dealt with the unsolved death of his own daughter, thus tenaciousness to work with Banner.
While the supporting actors were decent, with some nice scenes with the underappreciated Gil Birmingham who played Bridges’ Texas Ranger partner in Hell or High Water and Jon Bernthal in a small but significant role, the film is carried by Jeremy Renner’s low key but emotionally vulnerable performance that I hope will land him some award recognition. Elizabeth Olsen meanwhile is fine though not entirely memorable, though playing the outsider did work within the story.
A slow-burning modern Western, Wind River was written and directed by Taylor Sheridan and for me makes it 3/3 with his films, although I’d probably rank Sicario as my personal favorite, this second and Hell or High Water a close third. What I’ve liked about his movies is while they generally are straight-forward in terms of the plot, the way he’s written these characters, it’s perhaps some of the more realistic portrayals with nary a false vibe with any of them. Along with the strongly written script, the direction was equally tight the running time is only 100-minutes not wasting time with superfluous scenes. Less is more done right.
As a side, nothing to do with the movie, both The Weinstein Company name and Harvey Weinstein himself, were scrubbed from both the box art and movie itself.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. The selection of features is sadly lacking.
Deleted Scenes (3:11; HD) – Only two scenes here and nothing of consequence.
Behind the Scenes Video Gallery (9:54; HD) are promotional featurettes and interviews with Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and Taylor Sheridan.
Preview – The Hero
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Lionsgate releases Wind River onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. In keeping with the neo-Western vibe, colors were a bit toned down yet there are some splashes such as blood in the pure white snow and detail was impressively sharp throughout.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
|The movie comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is fairly strong providing both clean dialogue levels through the center channel as well as the haunting and spiritual score from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (Hell or High Water) which envelops the front and, particularly, rear speakers.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Wind River is easily the best movie I’ve seen over the past few years, though admittedly I gravitate more toward slow-burn crime-dramas and it’s a great follow-up to Hell or High Water and is an excellent sophomore effort for Taylor Sheridan. The Blu-ray release offers up solid video/audio transfers but the features were rather bland.
Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.