Entertainment » Movies

Wind River

by Derek Deskins
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Nov 21, 2017
Wind River

Since 2015, Taylor Sheridan has been the pen behind some of the best crime thrillers released. In both "Sicario" and "Hell or High Water," Sheridan found small parts of the American Frontier to mine for tales of complicated characters and even more complicated situations. Both of those previous films had an unbridled intensity that somehow emanated from the apparently mundane and unexceptional. In "Wind River," Sheridan finally decides to step up as director for one of his screenplays, and the result is largely fantastic.

Cory Lambert is a tracker with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the cold of Wyoming. The majority of his time is spent tracking down and dispatching predators. While out in the frozen wilderness, Lambert happens upon the body of a young woman, bloodied and barefoot. When new FBI agent Jane Banner arrives to handle the case, it quickly becomes evident that navigating a mystery on the Wind River Indian Reservation without local assistance is nearly impossible. So, she implores Lambert to come along to solve the murder.

Although "Wind River" takes place amongst plenty of snow and biting cold temperatures, it has the feel of a western. In Jeremy Renner, the film finds its quiet leader. Similarly, the setting is always foreboding even to those that have grown up in it, giving the feeling that even those that appear comfortable certainly are not. Sheridan has shown great skill by crafting his characters with nuance, depicting damaged people that feel authentic. His characters are just as strong this time out, even though Jane Banner could easily be a spiritual sister to "Sicario's" Kate Macer.

"Wind River" is just as intriguing as Sheridan's other films, but it feels a bit looser and tends to wander. Loose ends are left dangling, and some sections feel tacked on with little benefit to the film. These are minor grievances, and certainly common to a novice director. You can feel that Sheridan felt the need to throw in a message this time around, and unfortunately, the film is a bit lesser for it.

While Sheridan's direction allowed for some superfluous material, that's not the case with this Blu-ray release. Rather than going with the full three-format release, "Wind River" omits the DVD and supplies just the Blu-ray and Digital copy (which, for all intents and purposes, is all you really need). There are a couple of special features, including deleted scenes and some perfunctory behind-the-scenes videos, but nothing is all that memorable. As hot as Sheridan's scripts have been, this is the type of release that could have benefitted greatly from a director's commentary.

Where Sheridan had already proved himself an adept screenwriter, "Wind River" was the first time that he was in control of the total package. The results are encouraging, with Sheridan producing a film that is populated with rich characters and serves up a tension with aplomb. While the Blu-ray release leaves something to be desired, "Wind River" is ultimately able to pick up the slack with solid filmmaking.

"Wind River"

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