Wind River


19 August 2017| No Comments on Wind River     by Sean Chavel



Grim and depressing murder mystery that isn’t much of a mystery. I had a hard time with Wind River for the first forty-five minutes. Jeremy Renner is laconic to the point of being a flat character as a wildlife tracker who is asked by FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen (who has shades of character) to join her on an investigation taking place in the Indian tribal mountains of Wisconsin. I admit the movie became compelling by its second half once it gets to the gut of what it’s getting at.

Going in, you expect a lot from Taylor Sheridan, the suddenly hot screenwriter of “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” who wrote and directed this (his first feature). “Wind River” from the get-go is efficiently crafted, not amazingly crafted but does have a penchant for his credible procedural dialogue. The case surrounds around a rape-murder of a young woman who ultimately froze to death in the snowy mountains while running away from her attackers.

More morally purposeful than it is enjoyable, “Wind River” does nonetheless have merit. We belong to a society that has trouble seeing the difference between harassment and sexual violence. The key flashback that reveals everything, plunking us with the point of the movie, is an unblinking scene of sexual violence. We know the female victim will turn out dead. If there is a payoff to the movie, it is that the guilty party receives the kind of poetic justice that I wish all sexual predators would get coming to them.

The strong second half material outweighs a flimsy first half. I had found Renner’s character to be too much of a blank at first. We get to know him gradually. He gets an explanatory monologue halfway through that gives the movie some heft, and heck, I do applaud his actions at the climax of this terrible, aching case. “Wind River” is really not a work of storytelling genius, but the film does have some things to say.

With Graham Greene, Jon Bernthal, Kelsey Asbille and Gil Birmingham.

107 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Vagabond” (1986, France); “Thunderheart” (1992); “Frozen River” (2008); “Sicario” (2015).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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