WIND RIVER (2017) REVIEW: A cold, biter tale of regret, death and grieving


Written by James Reilly – Student Pages Entertainment Journalist/Film Critic

Film Rating: 


Sicario, Hell or High Water and now Wind River make up Taylor Sheridan’s “trilogy on the American frontier” and one of the finest trilogies of recent memory. While he has written all of the above, Wind River is the first he has chosen to direct himself – and boy doesn’t he do well.

Wind River follows Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, who must team up to try and solve a murder on Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Renner, as a US Fish and Wildlife Service Agent, is a particular highlight here as he projects the pain and sorrow of losing a child in such a subtly brilliant way that you cannot help but route for him from the get go. Olsen also brings her “A” game as a FBI Agent who is clearly out of her depth but she is still such a strong female character that she never appears weak. From Sicario to Wind River, if there is one thing Taylor Sheridan can write is a strong female protagonist.

The film is so simple that its almost perfectly constructed. Some of the dialogue is a little much, especially the line “you’re looking for clues, but missing the signs” or something like that, that feels a little forced but with a story this tight the odd forced line here and there pales in comparison to the masterfully constructive narrative.

The cinematography is another highlight with some of the shots highlighting the incredible wilderness at its peak, the snow capped environment looking magnificent. The score also is haunting, its undertones of American Indian classic music help really unsettle you yet propel you deeper into the story and grip you with its bitter grip.

The film was everything I was expecting with such a nuanced grip that Sheridan has in his writing ability, and was more than pleasantry surprised at how capable and masterful his directing is for his first mainstream effort. If you were a fan of Sicario and Hell or High Water you’ll be very at home here, and all I can hope is the film is not forgotten come awards season.

Follow James at @JamesisGinger