Suspense. Mystery. The FBI. A Hunter. And Snow… a lot of snow. That’s all I knew walking into the theater. There was plenty of questions rolling around in my head as to what I was about to watch. So, did “Wind River” answer all the questions and deliver on a suspenseful film that takes place in the snow? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review…
The film stars Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olson and Graham Greene. The movie poster above only credits Renner and Olson however the amount of screen time that Greene has is equal to that of them both. So, in my opinion, he was also a lead/star. The basic plot is a young woman is found dead in the snow by a local tracker/hunter and the FBI is called in to investigate. The story takes place on an indian reservation in Wyoming and because of that the involvement of the FBI (Olson) is crucial to the story. I didn’t really buy into her character immediately. It took time to discover that she’s pretty unfamiliar with what she’s doing in this movie and because of that she was more believable. Renner was believable as a tracker/hunter and Greene as the Tribal Sheriff. Overall, the characters were well cast and each one had to portray a different emotion or persona and for that I was pleased.
The story itself is very dark. It deals with the death of a young woman who was also raped. The story was written by Taylor Sheridan who also wrote “Sicario” which was incredibly dark. The body count in “Wind River” is far less than “Sicario” but it deals with people in troubled circumstances. It examines the spirit of each character which I didn’t realize until the very end when Renner’s character describes the difference between big city life and living in Wind River. This was a light bulb regarding the personalities of the characters and that single moment elevated the quality of the overall story.
As a murder mystery, the story doesn’t examine the crime story in the typical procedural drama way. It covers some of the basics, like crime scene photo’s and examinations, the medical examiner discussing their findings from an autopsy, etc. However, the questions about who/why/how are revealed via Renner’s character as the Hunter/Tracker. We follow his journey of discovery up into the very end of the film. The pacing of the story also mirrors the temperament of his character. Once he realizes where the danger and the threat that exists, the story picks up and becomes incredibly intense and the pace quickens. Spoiler alert, once you see Jon Bernthal’s character, get ready. From here on out the story is racing to the finish. Do not take a restroom break from his appearance forward!
“Wind River” is in theaters now! If you enjoy cop procedurals, murder mysteries, etc, I recommend you check this movie out on the big screen. This film won’t lose anything on BLU-Ray either. So, if you decide to wait to rent it or stream it, you will still get all the story that I got in theaters. However, I recommend a big screen viewing because the story is worth the price of the ticket. It’s well written and it’s unique. It’s not a typical mystery but it still follows familiar tropes. It’s intense as well. You have been warned! Check it out!