16 September 2017 | kckidjoseph-1
An Engrossing Murder Mystery That Respects Its Subject _ and Audience
"Wind River" is a gripping murder mystery-thriller written and directed by Taylor Sheridan (Best Original Screenplay Oscar nominee for "Hell or High Water") starring Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene, featuring an unusually strong supporting cast that includes many fine Native American actors.
Renner and Olsen play a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracker and an FBI agent, respectively, attempting to solve the murder of a young woman whose body is discovered by Renner under mysterious circumstances as he patrols the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.
The film scrupulously avoids clichés and is tightly edited with nary a wasted moment, yet never feels rushed or artificial in performance or plot. Everyone and everything is there for a reason, and best of all, the audience is given credit for being able to keep up and connect the dots.
The violence, which is absolutely necessary, is kept at a bare minimum as a narrative device, explaining and clarifying rather than assaulting the senses.
Every character, even the most heinous, is portrayed as a fully developed human being rather than as stereotype.
We learn how the Native American culture is victimized in a way that takes us inside their world and their souls, but the journey is skillfully handled and never heavy handed.
The photography is perfectly rendered, celebrating the icy Wyoming scenery in a muted style consistent with the mood of the story.
Renner, Olsen and Greene are excellent and believable, but in no small way this is an ensemble piece whose potency and effectiveness derive from the palpable passion and belief of everyone in front of and behind the camera.
This is an engrossing story well worth your time and money, and kudos to everyone involved for having faith that a discerning audience will find and appreciate it.