Taylor Sheridan directs Wind River, a mystery crime thriller set in the cold, frozen lands of Wyoming, we follow an FBI agent and a hunter as they investigate a suspected homicide of a native American woman, the film stars Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene and Julia Jones.
It’s interesting that we’ve randomly had two murder mystery thrillers taking place in sub-zero climates this year, Wind River and The Snowman, much to very contrasting receptions of course but there’s something almost ethereal, wild and perfect for setting crime dramas in snowy, frozen settings, putting an emphasis on natures unforgiving ruthlessness and contrasting it with humanities tendency to be just as cruel.
We’re in the frozen north-west of America this time as we follow Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) and his life in Wyoming as hunter with his son, we come to learn more about him as the story goes on and this ties into events in an interesting way, Cory is stoic, a bit of a loner and just wants to get the job done and Renner makes pretty much the perfect casting choice for the role. And it’s easily one of his best performances, understated but memorable, balancing off a cast of mostly unknowns, Elizabeth Olsen is the other main lead, playing a rookie FBI agent a bit out of her element, with shades of Clarice in Silence Of The Lambs.
Olsen brings her own touch to the performance however and is believably driven yet naive. The central plot of Wind River is set around the mysterious death of native teenage girl and of course, why it happened. But it’s no spoiler to say that it takes a while for things to really get going in any meaningful way and I get that this is a bit of a slower paced drama but it is really slow, so much so that it may turn viewers completely off but keep others engaged and I can understand the divisiveness of the film (although critics generally quite like it). The dramatic elements have some decent weight to them and there are some quite moving emotional scenes but they don’t really linger on, maybe pointing to the harsh nature of the work the cops and sheriffs in the area do.
The story just didn’t really impact me in the way I expected it to despite some good performances, The Lovely Bones this is not – and that did hit me quite a bit. The slow, lumbering plot put me off, despite it picking pace a ways into the film, the final third also felt a bit rushed along just to get to the conclusion. Slow burn dramas are very hit and miss with me and this one just didn’t quite hit.
. Plot pacing isn’t great, takes a while to get going
. Has good performances from main leads
. Lack of emotional impact from plot reveals for me