Wind River (2017): As If You Need More Of A Reason To Love Taylor Sheridan’s Work, Here Comes ‘Wind River’ (Review)

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Wind River tells the story of Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracker, and FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) as they attempt to figure out who raped and murdered a young Native woman (Kelsey Chow) on a Native reservation. The film also stars Gil Birmingham and Graham Greene and is directed by Taylor Sheridan (writer for Sicario, Hell Or High Water).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

My initial thought immediately after watching this movie: we really need more heavy movies like Wind RiverTaylor Sheridan knocks another brilliant script out of the park with his second foray into directing as it is one of the most engaging films I have seen this year – the dialogue and characters being worthy of the most praise. You are immediately placed into the world of the Wind River reservation from the very getgo, the brutal cold is depicted effectively on screen with the vast snowy landscape being the cherry on top of this tragic mystery.

The murder mystery aspect of the film is intriguing enough, however it’s the connection you feel with the characters that truly makes it as enjoyable as it is… Even though the subject matter and circumstances surrounding it is incredibly heavy.

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‘Back To The Future’ | Universal Pictures

The various relationships Cory (Jeremy Renner) has with the people living on this reservation is showcased efficiently enough to where the audience deduces certain aspects of their relationship without needing the film to hold your hand. I thoroughly enjoyed the actual character of Cory and what he meant to certain individuals and Renner gives a serviceable performance as the tracker-who-sees (and knows)-all. His character does seem to have a cowboy hat in virtually every single subject on Earth –  from his vast knowledge of virtually everything Arapaho to the numerous moments where he’s spewing off inspiring discourse that applies perfectly to whatever situation arises, I understand why Cory is knowledgeable in certain areas, however he became somewhat of a deus ex machina at certain points. I do like Jeremy Renner’s performance, however of all the main players in the film, he is probably toward the bottom of my list in terms of the performances I adored.

The dynamic between he and Elizabeth Olsen‘s Jane was definitely one of my favourite aspects of Wind River; crafting these characters to work with each other is difficult because you always run the risk of potentially bogging down the relationship with overt strictly-professional-relationship tropes. Their flourishing friendship and respect for each other gradually increase as the film progresses was incredibly refreshing to see. Olsen is also unsurprisingly incredible in the film, she’s one of my favourite actresses working today and I truly look forward to seeing her in whatever independent role she excels in and the more mainstream Hollywood pictures a la the various juggernaut installments of Marvel.

We learn as much as we need to learn about Cory and are given insight into what Jane’s position is as an FBI agent (Florida… Las Vegas?) Speaking of the parenthesis, I particularly enjoyed the occasional banter between Jane and Graham Greene‘s Police Chief Ben, the latter knowing all too well how these situations usually end up, falling on deaf ears. 

How Were The Other Aspects Of Wind River

I’m not sure that this is technically a subgenre, but movies that effectively utilize a wintery landscape is one of my favourite subgenres. I can’t praise its utilization enough because with Wind River, you feel the immense cold of Wyoming since everyone is wearing the appropriate clothing to assist one’s bodily temperature when it’s 40 below. Nobody is walking around with a light sweater and shorts saying, “huh, it’s pretty nippy out” because that attitude will give you grade A frostbite in about 15 minutes.

The murder mystery aspect of the film is incredibly compelling and because of the connection you feel with many of the characters, you want to see justice be brought to an area where many are not granted a similar justice. 

If you’re interested in an intriguing murder mystery featuring a talented cast and sensational atmosphere, check out Wind River.

Wind River receives 4/5 Matt Damon heads.


I Saw The Light (2016) Movie Review



Tom Hiddleston showcases his piping pipes and makes you involuntarily swoon at least once

I Saw The Light, directed by Marc Abraham, tells the story of country singer Hank Williams and his incredible rise to fame and subsequent fallout the singer faced in his short 6-year journey.

Getting right into it, Tom Hiddleston‘s portrayal as Hank Williams is simply fantastic. Both Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen give amazing performances and it was a delight to see the dynamic between the two because they played a dueling yet loving husband/wife brilliantly. Unfortunately I felt that the film neglected to really delve into why these two love each other. I felt genuine love between them, however that is more as a testament to the acting abilities of Hiddleston & Olsen, not the way the characters are written. The secondary characters did a fine job, however there were no true standouts. There is one character were makes an announcement toward the end of the movie that gave one of the best 6-second performances I’ve ever seen. Let me say that the only exposure to Hank Williams I personally have had is his song Heyyyy Good Lookin’ blaring on the K-Rose station whenever I played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

seriously though, what do you have cooking?

I had no idea about the troubles he faced or the relationship he had with his wife and the movie does manage to illustrate his demons really well. There were enough instances where we see the drinking and the womanizing and it never felt overwhelming or tiring. The main issue I had with the movie has to be the actual progression of the plot/story felt rather incoherent and disjointed at times. There were no real natural transitions of the scenes and there were instances where plot points were not explained as thoroughly as it could have been; don’t get me wrong, I hate being spoon-fed however, without going too much into spoiler territory, I had no idea who consisted of the Williams Household until like, halfway into the movie. Throughout the movie I found myself asking how much time has progressed from the previous scene and the abrupt scene changes really did not help in that department. There were also certain scenes that could have benefited from being cut since the pacing was a bit of an issue, these scenes felt overly long.

The musical performances sprinkled throughout were phenomenal. Abraham knew which musical interludes were the most appropriate to expand on and which ones were not.
I truly enjoyed this part of the movie because they never felt excessive and were needed to showcase Williams’ talent… Speaking of talent… Tom Hiddleston’s voice… oh. my. word. He was something else. Honestly, had it been anyone other than Hiddleston & Olsen I doubt I would have enjoyed the movie too much. These two are amazing talents and I cannot wait to see how their respective careers progress… And if they get married to each other, would not hate that either 🙂

The way I Saw The Light was shot was also great. There was a sense of griminess throughout it and there were instances where you felt present in the room… And trust me, there are certain scenes that made me feel incredibly uncomfortable and it felt wonderful.

If you’re looking for a movie that spans a few years and showcases the acting talent of Tom Hiddleston & Elizabeth Olsen, complete with country music, accents and phenomenally gorgeous-looking scenes, check out I Saw The Light.

I Saw The Light receives 3/5 Matt Damon heads.


s/o to Scene Creek & GoFobo for tickets to the screening 🙂