Pure Fandom ‘Wind River’ Review

Jeremy Renner appears in Wind River by Taylor Sheridan, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Note: This is a spoiler-free Wind River review

Hollywood is a tricky town. While it’s the land of opportunity, it’s also extremely difficult to make an impression. One successful project is “luck”. Two successful projects are a “coincidence”. Three successful projects, however. Three successful movies in Tinsel Town and you’re creating a trend.

Taylor Sheridan is creating a trend.

Behind yet another stellar writing performance by Taylor Sheridan, Wind River brings action, thrill, mystery, and drama while also providing a range of important societal messages.

Seems like a lot for one 107 minute movie, doesn’t it?

That’s the genius of Sheridan. Every scene has its own importance, and when they all come together it creates an entertaining movie with a social statement.

Wind River proves no different. The film takes place on a Native American reservation of the same name, while federal agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) and self-titled hunter Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) attempt to solve the rape and homicide of a teenage girl.

Addressing Societal Issues

Many of the issues addressed surround the Native American community, as expected. The overarching theme is the United States’ neglect of Native American women in today’s society, but Sheridan covers that and much more in the film.

Wind River is an isolated area in Wyoming, where six police officers cover miles of land. To solve a case like the one in the movie it would essentially have to “fall in the lap” of the police. Many times there is no solving these cases and bringing the families in pain any closure. This point is right in your face all the way through the end of the film.

Isolation hits the residents hard as well. Native American drug culture is another focus of Wind River, which Sheridan depicts in one of his intense shootout scenes. After the dust settles, the conversation between Cory and one of the young Native American boys makes the statement. The entire sequence of events is Sheridan at his best.

Another area the Sicario and Hell or High Water writer covers in his latest installment applies to more than just Native Americans. That is the rape culture which still exists in today’s society. The film starts with the symbolism of what is to come. Then, depicted in a well-written scene that is graphic and quite frankly difficult to watch, Wind River brings a dark subject to light. The scene is integral to the story, but also necessary to give the viewer emotional investment and awareness.

Also featured is the always-difficult topic of losing a child. Sheridan again tugs at the heart strings with a focus on pain and suffering at the highest level. You know you’ll get a good gun fight in a Sheridan film, but the dialogue shines in this area of Wind River.

Bringing The Action

Speaking of a good gun fight. Wind River features a few, but the climax comes at the end. In true Sheridan fashion, the build up is entertaining and the payoff is even better. The mix of anticipation, intensity, action, and emotion is what makes Wind River great. You’ll experience all of that throughout the film, and all at once during the shootout.

Should I Go See It?

As if that hasn’t been made obvious by now. Whenever given the opportunity to watch a movie that is entertaining throughout while also providing something to think about and discuss after watching it, take advantage. Wind River falls in that category.

If you’ve been sleeping on Taylor Sheridan, it’s time to wake up.

Sicario isn’t luck. Hell or High Water isn’t a coincidence. Go watch those, and then go see Wind River.

For more, check out our All Movies section!

Image courtesy of Collider

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About Steve Richards

First and foremost, I love anything Philly sports; that includes the Phillies, Sixers, Eagles, Flyers and Union (that’s a soccer team). I’m also a fan of the English Premier League squad Manchester City. In the college ranks, I follow the football, basketball, and baseball teams of both Penn State and the University of Texas. I work for SportsNetworker.com, where I am the COO. I also cover a variety of high school sports for The Reporter and PaPrepLive.com as a freelance writer. On the broadcast journalism side of things I'm a co-host of the Prime Time Fantasy Football and Showcast podcasts on Next Level Radio. You can check that out right here. You'll also find me on Twitter discussing a multitude of things. Feel free to give me a follow over there.
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