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Wind River




Wind River (R)
Film reviews by Amy Diaz

08/31/17
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



Wind River (R)
A tracker hunts the murderers of a young woman on a reservation in Wyoming in Wind River.
While tracking the mountain lions killing livestock on the Wind River Indian Reservation, Corey Lambert (Jeremy Renner) finds the body of Natalie (Kelsey Asbille), an 18-year-old girl who clearly ran a very long distance, barefoot and in subzero temperatures, before she died. 
FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent to work with reservation law enforcement, led by Ben (Graham Greene), to investigate what, because of how Natalie died and evidence of rape, is ruled a murder. Jane — who is young, stationed in the Las Vegas office and completely unfamiliar with the area or its harsh weather — seems totally wrong for the work. But Corey, who as we come to learn knew the deceased girl and her family and has his own tragic past, agrees to help her get around in the snowy environment and track the killers. Or, as he tells Natalie’s father (Gil Birmingham), he’ll use Jane’s investigation to do what he does: hunt predators. Not only is the snow a problem but so is the complicated web of jurisdiction that comes with a crime on a reservation (which includes land that has been leased to yet another federal agency). 
Wind River does a lot of things really well. First, it’s a movie, not some 7- to 12-episode prestige TV show. I never thought I’d be thankful for less character development but I am with this movie, which is so much more satisfying in its brevity. Wind River offers the exact amount of information about the people and the situation to make us feel the deep sadness and despair and glints of hope that are a part of this story without wallowing in a way that starts to cheapen those emotions. 
I also like that, though it is a beginning-middle-end movie, Wind River doesn’t tie up every plot thread. It shows restraint in how it chooses to have characters interact and how it chooses which questions to answer. While there is some change in some of the characters, there isn’t a big dramatic growth; people don’t “get better.” They deal, for better and worse. And, for such a bleak story, it has rare but welcome moments where characters offer observations that, while not laugh-out-loud funny, provide a break in the sadness, a way to cope (as they would for people in real life).
The movie is also truly beautiful to look at with shots of the Wyoming wilderness that tell the story as much as the dialogue. 
Sounds like fun, right? I realize “sad story about a brutal murder and life’s injustice” might not be on your Labor Day weekend to-do list. But Wind River is a solid movie for grown-ups that’s worth your time. A-
Rated R for strong violence, a rape, disturbing images and language. Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, Wind River is an hour and 47 minutes long and distributed by The Weinstein Company. 





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