ON a bit of a winning streak after receiving acclaim for Sicario and an Oscar nomination for Hell or High Water, writer Taylor Sheridan steps behind the camera for chilly thriller Wind River.
When US Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) discovers the body of a young woman miles from anything in a Wyoming Native American reservation, rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent to help.
Green and completely unprepared for the harsh icy climate, Banner enlists Lambert as a tracker to help find the woman’s killer.
Writer/director Sheridan has recently positioned himself as a talent to keep an eye on with his sharply scripted thrillers.
As director, he achieves a sense of dread by capturing the oppressive nature of the blizzard-prone area, with his snow jacket clad characters trudging through the white-filled frames.
Renner is solid as an emotionally broken individual, the recent murder dredging up the memory of his own teenage daughter’s unsolved murder.
Equally impressive is his ally Olsen in a role that is not dissimilar to that of popular FBI rookie Clarice Starling navigating her first case in The Silence of the Lambs.
Sheridan’s one downfall is underdeveloping the racial undertones and Native American context of the story.
Fleshing it out a bit more would have added weight to this investigation procedural, but the suspense and tension is still held throughout.
Without the detailed subtext, Wind River fails to equal classic genre pieces such as Se7en and Lambs, but this slow burn mystery/thriller has affecting bursts of violence that will rattle you.THE ESSENTIALS
Wind River (MA)
Directed by: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now