Monday, June 5, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Wind River' (2017) Capsule Review

Taylor Sheridan won acclaim for writing recent crime dramas Sicario and Hell or High Water, which afforded him the chance to direct his own script, Wind River. Beginning with a murder of a young woman on an isolated Indian reservation, the story follows a tracker (Jeremy Renner), grieving his own loss, as he helps a newbie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen), stalk the killer. As he says, he “hunts predators.”

Olsen’s arc feels trimmed down in editing and pushed aside, but Renner delivers maybe his best performance as a man quietly coping with haunting pain, approaching with a stoic sense of perspective and philosophy that mask deep wounds. Even with Sheridan’s Elmore Leonard-influenced loaded dialogue, Wind River doesn’t quite hit the highs of his other works, but it’s a strong directorial offering and a taut, cold mystery. There is also one of the most gratuitous rape scenes I've seen in quite a while, which is wholly unnecessary, jarringly shifts perspective, and derails the pace in a key moment. [Grade: B]

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