A striking directorial debut for Taylor Sheridan confirms his place as a rising star in both the writing and directing world. Wind River isn’t the complete film, but after all, none really are. Wind River follows Sheridan’s other writing ventures, Sicario and Hell or High Water, both directed by other people. As its own movie, Wind River is both enthralling and meticulous, but when put up against Sheridan’s other work, it can’t help but slightly pale in comparison.
Jeremy Renner excellently plays a hunter who gets dragged into a murder mystery in a snowy and bewildered Native American area. Renner gave one of his most memorable performances yet. He transformed into his character, and gave a brilliantly subdued performance. Renner is one of those actors who gets a lot of unnecessary hate, when in my opinion, he is one of the best around. Elizabeth Olson plays an FBI agent who is kind of the audience character. She gets brought in to the remote town when the murders happen, and is a very strong, resilient character. Gil Birmingham has an excellent supporting role, as he had in Hell or High Water. Nobody particularly stood out as poor or weak in Wind River, which always adds to the immersive nature of a movie.
Our characters are very interesting. Renner’s character is a loving, divorced father dealing with some demons. Olsen plays a strong but unaware FBI agent. This is what they are at the start of the movie, and at the end. The characterisation was muddy. I didn’t feel as if I had gone on a journey with these characters, or that anything has been accomplished since the movie begun. The characters were interesting and excellent to watch on screen, but by the end I felt a bit deflated when thinking about the main characters.
Sheridan has a clear directorial style. He created a visceral thriller, with the perfect amount of underlying drama and hidden messages to keep the movie flowing. The chilling nature of the movie is all achieved by Sheridan’s clear talent. The cinematography is of the highest class, and this only gets me excited to see what Sheridan has to offer in the future.
Wind River is a visceral and thrilling movie. The underlying message is fantastic, and the thrilling nature of Wind River solidifies its place as a top notch directorial debut. I will rate Wind River 8/10.