If you caught either Sicario or Hell or High Water, their writer Taylor Sheridan takes the directorial helm first hand. With an in-form Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen in this latest indie thriller, we track the murder of a young Native American woman.
If you know anything of these two films previously penned by Taylor, then you will already have a sense of the tone and intensity that will inevitably wind us down Wind River. Expect trademark bleak and unrelenting landscapes to frame a story that is both subtle and shocking.
Jeremy Renner popped onto my radar via the critically acclaimed Hurt Locker. He has since been a one time Bourne, an Avenger and Mission Impossible employee a few times, and also showed a turn against type in American Hustle and Arrival. This film allows him to have a proper run out again.
Similarly Elizabeth Olsen who shone in indie favourite Martha Marcy May Marlene, has also worked the mainstream with Godzilla and X-Men movies. Olsen too gets to show some gravitas and genuine presence here.
It is the tone and the writing that let both turn in an understated yet noteworthy performance that punctuates the drama. We are educated through the film in being introduced to a particular part of present day Wyoming culture, which feels well versed and researched in the cultural dynamics and history this part of Native American. This fiction feels informative. There is again through the quality of the writing an ambiguity to be found in the morality of the different players and layers that help this stand apart from the mainstream.
Although this is an assured directorial debut from Sheridan, it doesn’t feel quite as complete as his previous collaborations as writer. It does however show serious potential for what may be to come from this up and coming talent and a compelling drama more than worthy of your time – 8/10.