Director: Taylor Sheridan
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene
Release Date: November 14, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Wind River is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Olsen) who teams up with a game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Renner) to investigate the mysterious killing of a local girl on a remote Native American reservation.
‘Wind River’ tells the haunting tale of local game tracker Cory Lambert (Renner) who joins forces with a young FBI agent named Jane Banner (Olsen) to investigate the mysterious death of a young woman on a remote Native American Reservation amidst an aggressive snowstorm. With the coroner unable to call her death a murder regardless of the obvious circumstances at hand, Cory and Jane must attempt to uncover the truth behind the events of the night which eventually led to her freezing to death amid the open landscape. With few leads to build on and only the painfully limited assistance of the reservation’s remote police force to assist, Cory must use his talents and thorough knowledge of the terrain to track down a different type of predator than he is usually accustomed to in order to provide closure for both the girl’s family as well as indirectly for himself.
Written and directed by the incredibly talented Taylor Sheridan (writer of ‘Sicario’ & ‘Hell Or High Water’) who does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘Wind River’ easily guiding his own impressive script around each tense and powerful turn. The film also owes plenty of credit to the talented individuals that comprise the cast including Jeremy Renner (Arrival), Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Graham Greene (The Green Mile), Teo Briones (TV’s Pretty Little Liars), Gil Birmingham (Twilight), Martin Sensmeier (TV’s Salem) and more, nearly all delivering highly capable performances in each of their respective roles, with Renner and Olsen both equally outstanding in the two leads.
‘Wind River’ is a truly phenomenal piece of filmmaking. It weaves a tense, powerful and at times unnerving tale layered with pain and humanity that will grab hold of your emotions and not let go until all is finally revealed. It’s a cleverly structured story that always feels organic in its ability to never reach beyond its means or attempt to intertwine illogical or improbable situations and twists; instead naturally building along an entirely believable path that allows things to develop and feel both realistic and somewhat relatable at all times. It embraces the snowy weather in order to compliment the unsettling aspect of the grisly crime being investigated which often results in a simultaneous sense of claustrophobic enclosure and eerily open and uncertain landscape which fits perfectly into the overall scope and tone. Smoothly guided through each tense and powerful scene by director Taylor Sheridan whose capable guidance and screenplay is only complimented all the more by noteworthy performances from Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen who portray the two key leads and never falter in the slightest. I would strongly suggest giving ‘Wind River’ a chance whenever you have the opportunity to do so. It’s a truly remarkable film that delivers in every possible way and should be more than worth the time of anyone already the mildest bit interested to begin with.
Overall, ‘Wind River’ is an outstanding film and without question one of the year’s finest. Taking viewers on a tense, desolate quest through the snowy terrain to uncover a grisly mystery that has rippled across the community, it’s a brilliantly crafted story that never strays from believability and maintains a sense of realism and unease around each powerful turn. It’s a smart, beautiful and refreshingly simple murder mystery that is not to be missed. ‘Wind River’ easily earns my highest possible recommendation. A masterful piece of filmmaking that should have no trouble proving itself well worth both the time and cost of a rental at the very least for fans of writer/director Taylor Sheridan and stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, along with anyone that appreciates a phenomenal thriller that never loses its way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Wind River’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding as a whole and provides a sharp, clean and detailed presentation throughout with no notable faults to be uncovered along the way. It holds up admirably in every aspect, from the rich white of the snowy terrain to the clean, discernible darks in some sequences. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation from Lionsgate that looks consistently wonderful and should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack offers a smooth, crisp and occasionally somewhat aggressive audio presentation from start to finish. It often takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send activity from the snowstorm, along with gunshots, other nature elements and more making its way throughout the various speakers when appropriate, and never allowing any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio activity to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a great 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Wind River’ includes a couple brief extras. Included on the release are 2 ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 3 minutes in length combined) and a ‘Behind the Scenes Video Gallery’ which is broken down into three sections by individual: ‘Jeremy Renner’, ‘Elizabeth Olsen’ and ‘Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan’ (running approximately 3-4 minutes each).