After writing the well received 'Sicario' and 'Hell or High Water' Sheridan moves back into the director's chair with this well constructed genre exercise with a strong political undercurrent and real world sensibility. Fairly well cast with only Olsen a little out of her element (but mind you so is her character).
It is clear by now Sheridan is very skilled at crafting taut Westerns that exist in proverbial no man's lands - borderlands with little law, modern-day frontiers. This is no different - though it mainly suffers from lazy exposition, some predictability, and an unrealistic, Hollywood shoot-em-up ending.
Sheridan's trilogy of modern westerns depict an unreconstructed America as yet untroubled by tech startups and soy lattes: this is still a land of frontiers, outlaws and culture clashes. Renner once again proves he's a much better dramatic actor than he is a multiplex star.
Taylor Sheridan concludes an impressive trilogy of terse, masculine thrillers with "Wind River," a film that punctuates its bruised melancholy with moments of wince-inducing violence. Sheridan's stories are as much about their settings as they are their characters, and he seems admirably committed to investigating regions of the country that the coasts have written off. "Wind River" may be his finest effort yet.
Sheridan wrote (but didn't direct) Hell or High Water, which had a fine script but looked too glossy by half. Glossiness isn't a problem here—the soil feels dirtier. Wind River aspires to be something of a "borderland noir" where the border is between Americans, and while this prosaically linear murder mystery has no real distinct style, there are moments at the end where it make its most obvious points feel alive.
Almost missing out on this one (that awful title, run-off-the-mill premise, untested director, and very few people talking about it) and thank God I didn't. Taylor Sheridan might have written SICARIO and HELL OR HIGH WATER for Denis Villeneueve and David McKenzie career advancement, but damn bastard saved the best script for himself.
The hard-bitten poetry ("a place of silence and snow") lives between clichéd character moments (Olsen-Renner romantic subtext) and, what appears to be, the writer's strategic use of social consciousness (title card says FBI stats on missing Native American women are unknown). WIND RIVER is a grim murder-mystery with a refreshing old school charm. But it pales in comparison to THE PLEDGE, a more complex and true film.
A grim, affecting, chilly companion piece to "Hell or High Water." Sheridan isn't as sure-footed a director as Villeneuve or McKenzie, but the measured pace results in some authentic, sleeper gut-punch moments, and allows Olsen, Renner, Greene and Birmingham time to shine with their rich characters.