Wind River is Taylor Sheridan’s second feature movie who usually shines as an actor. Seeing his first movie Vile made back in 2011, it’s astonishing to see how much Sheridan has improved since then. Having a stellar cast comprising Jeremy Reiner and Elizabeth Olsen, he takes the viewer to Native American reservation when a gruesome violence occurs. He recreates a terrifying atmosphere where cold weather, non-stop snow and cold-blooded murderers have found a diabolical chemistry to erupt in Wind River.
Taylor Sheridan did the right thing this time not giving anyone else to direct his brilliant script. You might already know that Sicario and Hell or High Water was also written by this extremely talented person. In Wind River he takes a different direction inspired by true events. A young Indian woman runs on the snow towards her death. Barefoot, scared and running as fast as she could, she obviously could not make it as shortly after an internal bleeding begins due to the cold weather, she falls dead. A day later, Cory Lambert, the town’s veteran game tracker finds her lifeless body miles away from the town. An FBI agent Jane Banner is sent to find the cause of the death so she decides to ask the same Lambert for help to investigate the case.
An autopsy provides an insight of what lead to the victim’s death, which included that she ran six miles barefoot in the snow and died of frozen burst lungs, which means technically it was not a murder. However, Jane thinks otherwise and soon determines that the victim had an affair with a local boy who might have gotten involved in her death in some way. However, that theory does not find solid support as the body of her boyfriend was also found in the mountain, which complicates the case even more. We also learn that there are reasons why Cory Lambert, a man that talks less but is effective when it comes to being tough, had his own reasons to join the investigation as his teenage daughter was found dead as well, but years ago. But this time, the man did not want the case to remain unsolved and begins his active participation in helping the young agent to solve the mystery.
Elizabeth Olsen who portrays Jane Banner will remind you of Jodie Foster`s Clarice Starling from The Silence of The Lambs. Young, sharp and ready to take extra steps to complete her mission, even though her next step may cause irreversible damage. Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert is a troubled man with a hurting past. Beside being tough, he is like an old cowboy fellow who knows when and how to punch the guts. Overall, Wind River is an excellent suspenseful thriller. It might have some elements of cliché, but again, when it comes to telling the story of a murder that happens in a rural place and against native Americans, it’s never easy to unfold the story. But Taylor Sheridan seems to have had no issues as he shows who is in charge, and that’s not who you think it is.