Wind River Poster

Wind River (Film Review) – A Superb Thriller

Wind River is a neo-western thriller written and directed by Taylor Sheridan and stars Jon Bernthal, Gil Birmingham, Graham Greene, Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner. The story of the film focuses on Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracker who has to work with Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), an FBI agent. We follow these two characters in their attempt to solve a murder that occurred on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Wind River

My expectation for this film was very high and the sole reason why this was the case was because of Taylor Sheridan. This is the man who was the screenwriter behind films such as Hell or High Water and Sicario. Hell or High Water is a very good film but Sicario, for me, is an amazing film and is probably the best film I saw in 2015. What struck me in both films was how brilliant the story and the dialogue was. To see Taylor Sheridan return with Wind River both as a writer and a director really interested me.

Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert in Wind River

I also had some concerns though and that was mainly down to Jeremy Renner. Now, I like Jeremy Renner but I was not confident in his ability to succeed as the lead in this film. He has not blown me away as an actor. Still, my overall feeling going into Wind River was one of hope rather than trepidation. I was confident that Wind River was going to be, at the very least, a good film.

My Thoughts on Wind River

Wind River is, by a mile, the best film I have seen this year. In terms of the films written by Taylor Sheridan, I would rank it well above Hell or High Water. Sicario is a bit better but for Wind River to get close to the quality of Sicario is an immense achievement. Undoubtedly, Jeremy Renner gives the best performance of his career in this film. Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, who was also brilliant, carry Wind River with terrific lead performances that have a lot of depth.

Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner and Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert in Wind River

Indeed, the whole film is rich with story. On a surface level, the murder mystery is very interesting and Wind River does a great job at building suspense and tension to get to the revelations we crave. Still, what really intrigued me was how interconnected the stories in this film were. The murder mystery hits very close to home for Renner’s character who has gone through an extremely similar experience. He has a brilliant scene with Elizabeth Olsen where we see the pain within him.

Engaging Throughout

I never got bored during Wind River as I was always eager to learn more about the characters and their lives. Taylor Sheridan does a brilliant job in telling his story and I found both the pacing and length of Wind River to be perfect. It never drags but it never rushes either. Moreover, the superb cinematography in this film will always keep you engaged from a visual perspective. The score also impressed me and to have human dialogue interwoven into the music was a very subtle, nice addition.

Scenery including Sheep and Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert in Wind River

To be honest, I cannot find anything wrong with Wind River. I was engaged from beginning to end and it just proves how talented Taylor Sheridan is from a writing and now a directorial standpoint. Jeremy Renner has also gone up in my estimations as an actor and he proved to me that he can be successful in leading roles. If you can find some spare time, then Wind River should absolutely be a film that you see. For me, it is the best film I have seen in 2017 so far.

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