Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Wind River' on SWITCHCast
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Daniel dives into Disney's package films in the latest episode of Ink & Paint - click here to listen now!x
review, Wind River, Wind, River, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal, Martin Sensmeier, Julia Jones, Graham Greene, Kelsey Asbille, Matthew Del Negro, Gil Birmingham, Ian Bohen, Taylor Sheridan, Drama, Thriller film rating

WIND RIVER

★★

LEAVES YOU COLD

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
15th June 2017

'Wind River' follows a Florida-born FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen, 'Avengers: Age of Ultron', 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'), who teams with a government animal trapper named Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner, 'Arrival', 'The Hurt Locker'), after the body of a barefoot teenage girl is found frozen in the snow in the rugged and wintry mountains of Wyoming, miles away from any buildings. The investigation brings them into conflict with the closed Native American community.

'Wind River' is directed and written by Taylor Sheridan in his directorial debut. Except... it's not.

Taylor Sheridan's directorial debut was an independent horror film called 'Vile' in 2011 (the sole critics review on Rotten Tomatoes describes it as: "An almost comically terrible 'Saw' knockoff"). But "directorial debut" sounds good in interviews and pull-quotes (as seen on the Sydney Film Festival website). Plus, Sheridan would probably prefer his flourishing personal brand to be associated with gritty neo-Westerns rather than a lame micro-budget horror film.

'Wind River' is also Sheridan's first screenplay which he didn't write on spec and the final instalment in his thematic American Frontier trilogy of screenplays, the others filmed as the critically-adored 'Sicario' (2015) and 'Hell or High Water' (2016) - both character-rich pieces that quietly subvert their genres' predecessors. 'Wind River' attempts a similar subversion by largely circumventing the usual aspects of the procedural thriller. Aside from Lambert using his skills as a tracker, there is very little gathering of clues or detective work.

WATCH: 'WIND RIVER'

Like Emily Blunt in 'Sicario', Elizabeth Olsen is given little to work with as a beautiful yet embarrassingly inept FBI agent in an unfamiliar location. Like Benicio del Toro in 'Sicario', Jeremy Renner plays a bad-ass with omnipotent survival skills, avenging a tragic family history as he guides Olsen's character throughout the film. Unlike his role in 'Sicario', Jon Bernthal flips the script and plays a different variation of "dude who takes his shirt off" in a small but pivotal role.

As the lead actor, Renner turns in a so-so performance as Lambert (in a role originally intended for Chris Pine). Lambert was once happily married to a Native American woman and had two children, but now nurses a private pain due to a family tragedy - a tragedy that impels him to investigate the death of the young Native American woman on nearby reservation land. Renner is believable as a man of action (this is the actor who was once tapped to replace Matt Damon in the 'Bourne' franchise) but is unable to tap into the necessary stoicism and emotional depth for the role. The film's stand-out performances come from the always-watchable Canadian First Nations actor Graham Greene ('Dances with Wolves', 'The Green Mile') and Gil Birmingham ('The Lone Ranger', The 'Twilight' Saga) as a kindly policeman and the murdered girl's father, respectively.

The action in the film is muscular and aggressive, finding dynamic and surprising ways to showcase intimate battle sequences (as well as some creative ways of getting into them).

Another major stumbling block for 'Wind River', when inevitably compared to the other films in Sheridan's oeuvre, is that it isn't directed by a visual stylist. Cinematographer Ben Richardson is no Roger Deakins, and Sheridan is certainly no Denis Villeneuve or David Mackenzie. Previously, he has cited Clint Eastwood and Michael Mann as influences for what he calls "naturalistic genre films". Unfortunately, rather than evoking these directors or even prestige snow-bound thrillers like 'A Simple Plan' or 'Fargo', this film feels like nothing more than a chilly, overlong episode of Netflix's TV crime drama 'Longmire', which also deals with criminal activities on Indian reservations.

What 'Wind River' does have going for it is its final half-hour. A tense Mexican stand-off leads to a harrowing flashback sequence and a gonzo climactic gun battle that caused the audience in my cinema to gasp at its explosive violence. The action in the film is muscular and aggressive, finding dynamic and surprising ways to showcase intimate battle sequences (as well as some creative ways of getting into them). Along with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' score for the film, the gunfights are a highlight of 'Wind River'; it seems as though Sheridan was saving up all his creativity for the action.

Directorial skills aside, Sheridan should really consider moving past his obsession with terse masculinity and writing a film where his female characters aren't quivering jelly, hapless victims or bitter exes.

'Outbreak Generation' screened before 'Wind River' on Wednesday 14 June 2017 at the State Theatre, Sydney.

Directed by Brooke Goldfinch , 'Outbreak Generation' is an apocalyptic short film that sees Annie (Genevieve Hegney) unexpectedly finding herself as the sole carer of her eight-year-old nephew (Oscar Wright) when a mind-altering virus ravages Sydney. Is Annie suffering the hallucinatory symptoms of TSD, or can the mysterious white horse she sees in the middle of the road be explained rationally?

'Outbreak Generation' is a nicely shot mood piece which could have benefited from a punchier conclusion, but Goldfinch does a great job in establishing Annie's nightmarish world in its brief 13-minute running-time.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 10/08/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 51m
CAST: Jeremy Renner
Elizabeth Olsen
Jon Bernthal
Martin Sensmeier
Julia Jones
Graham Greene
Kelsey Asbille
Matthew Del Negro
Gil Birmingham
Ian Bohen
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Taylor Sheridan
PRODUCERS: Elizabeth A. Bell
Peter Berg
Matthew George
Basil Iwanyk
Wayne Rogers
Wayne L. Rogers
WindRiverMov
WindRiverMovie
WindRiverMovie
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Wind River' on SWITCHCast 
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Sydney Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - The film every teenager needs to see
TRENDINGNEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSThe film every teenager needs to see
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
The Bill: The Complete Series 1 - 4 - Hit the beat and go back to where it all began
TRENDINGWIN THE BILL: THE COMPLETE SERIES 1 - 4Hit the beat and go back to where it all began
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
Fraggle Rock: Collection Two - The much-loved classic series remastered
TRENDINGWIN FRAGGLE ROCK: COLLECTION TWOThe much-loved classic series remastered
Romantic Road - Falling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
TRENDINGROMANTIC ROADFalling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse - Fairly brainless
TRENDINGSCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSEFairly brainless
Future Man: Season 3 - Saving the universe one last time
TRENDINGWIN FUTURE MAN: SEASON 3Saving the universe one last time
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
After We Collided - Wattpad returns to the screen for slightly better, still dumb, results
TRENDINGAFTER WE COLLIDEDWattpad returns to the screen for slightly better, still dumb, results
Burning - One of the best films of the decade
TRENDINGBURNINGOne of the best films of the decade
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Pickup Game - A confronting reveal of the pickup industry
TRENDINGTHE PICKUP GAMEA confronting reveal of the pickup industry
Jungle - A true story told poorly
TRENDINGJUNGLEA true story told poorly
Basic Instinct - 25 years of the erotic thriller
TRENDINGBASIC INSTINCT25 years of the erotic thriller
23 Walks - A story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
TRENDING23 WALKSA story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - The film every teenager needs to see
TRENDINGNEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSThe film every teenager needs to see
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us