Film Review: Story in ‘Wind River’ Gets Scattered in the Breeze

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CHICAGO – Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan is a deep thinker regarding humanity in these United States. In the third film of his “American Frontier Trilogy” – after “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” – he goes to the Wyoming Native American reservation, for a unwieldy story titled “Wind River.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

“Wind River” is definitely the weakest of the trilogy, suffering from a meandering uncertainty as to what it wanted to be. Did it want to be a cop procedural? It got off track from the main case several times, confusing the issue. Did it want to be a morality tale? Jeremy Renner, as the local authority, kept making emotional and poignant speeches that went nowhere. Finally, did it want to be an American frontier story, as the trilogy is so named? It certainly went to one of the last frontiers in the rough reservation lands of Wyoming, and the cinematography was properly breathtaking, but the “frontier” was used as a prop rather than an indication of character. All of it just didn’t add up, and the film was impaired by story deficiencies in each of the three themes.

The film begins with a woman (Kelsey Asbille) running barefoot in the snow, eventually collapsing. She is a Native American on the Wind River reservation in Wyoming, and she had died at the end of the run. Two local authorities are notified – Ranger Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) and Officer Ben (Graham Greene) – but they also have to contend with FBI Agent Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), who has also been called in.

Banner is a stranger in a strange land, so she enlists Lambert to help her with the case. But the Ranger is also a man with a past, and it is tied into the murder they are trying to solve. The atmosphere of Wind River becomes fuel for the twists and turns the crime-solving duo encounters, and what they finally reveal will be shocking enough to create a sense of redemption.

“Wind River” continues its nationwide release in Chicago on August 11th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene, Julia Jones and Kelsey Asbille. Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Wind River”

WindR1
Jeremy Renner is Cory Lambert in ‘Wind River’
Photo credit: The Weinstein Company

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Wind River”

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