A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.
East of Boulder Flats, deep into the vast and unforgiving white territory of the Wind River Indian Reservation, the seasoned game tracker, Cory Lambert, discovers the frozen body of the young Native American, Natalie. As this is a federal crime, the F.B.I. dispatches the inexperienced but courageous agent Jane Banner to lead the investigation, however, the unprepared outsider will soon team up with Cory to unravel the mystery of Natalie's murder. Before long, Cory will inevitably have to face his own past, while at the same time, both he and Jane are thirsting to see justice done. In the end, will this be a fruitful alliance?Written by
Taylor Sheridan depicts another dilapidated region of America
If you've seen any of Taylor Sheridan's previous work, you probably noted that he has a certain style. He tells stories about ways of life in dilapidated regions of the country. He blurs the lines between "good guys" and "bad guys," instead framing the status of the selected region as the truest villain. What's right and wrong, considering all the unique variables of each story, is not always clear. At least, that was case in Sicario and Hell or High Water.
In Wind River, the region is still presented with all the strain that is causes on the lives of its residents, but a much more obvious villain is revealed before the movie is over.
Hell of High Water frames the crumbling economy of a certain Texas region as the real source of evil, rather than any characters. Whereas in Wind River the source of evil is definitely the rapist. I mean, the rapist attempts to blame the cold and silence, but his actions were clearly much worse than bad weather.
Sheridan's previous films also left doubt about who were the heroes, who the audience should be rooting for. This time it was much less ambiguous—they were the people searching for the rapist.
An emerging theme in Sheridan's movies appears to be Tarantinoesque eruptions of violence, sometimes near the conclusion. They don't always reach the levels of the Django Unchained shootout, but Sheridan clearly isn't shy about showcasing the unforgiving damage that can be inflicted by firearms.
Complaints, I have a few. On more than one occasion, I legitimately could not understand what a character had said, so I was left wondering if I missed something important. I'm not sure if this manner of speaking was a choice made by the actors or if this was a decision made by Sheridan to establish a certain tone. Either way, I could have used less mumbling.
The other complaint that I have, and this is more serious, the middle third of the movie felt like it contained a lot of empty moments. This may or may not have been related to the times that I couldn't understand what a character said. Still, the movie could have used a bit of its fat trimmed. It wasn't as crisp and clean as Hell or High Water and Sicario. And I know I keep comparing this movie to Sheridan's others, but that's bound to happen when a writer sets the bar so high with two gems.
On the whole, I consider this a success for Sheridan in his directorial debut. I'd happily watch another story of his about justice and an overlooked culture.
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