Taylor Sheridan does it again in this ice-burnt murder mystery set in a Native American community in Wyoming. The Sunday Indo review forthwith… 

***

Title: Wind River
Cert: 16

THE double hit of Sicario (2015) and Hell or High Water (2016) announced Taylor Sheridan as an action-thriller screenwriter of serious calibre. Brimming with atmosphere and novelistic characterisation, both won critical acclaim and courted awards season while reviving a genre that felt all but out of ideas. Wind River completes Sheridan’s enviable hat trick while showing he’s no slouch in the director’s chair either.

The baked border dread and western dusts of the preceding films are replaced by frozen Wyoming wilderness where a barefoot young woman has been found dead in the remote snows of an Indian reservation.

A stoic wildlife ranger (Jeremy Renner, never better) makes the discovery and is soon asked to assist an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who arrives ill-equipped for the sub-zero climate and social norms of the troubled Native American community. He has a lot riding on the success of her investigation, it emerges, and in that measured, Taylor-Sheridan manner, an alliance is formed.

There is much to celebrate here; the flecks of social commentary Wind River raises without fanfare; its western-style incorporation of wild terrain and the different laws that apply there; the heart-stopping, adrenalised climax that it smoulders towards. Sheridan shoots the fruits of his imagination with dynamism and elicits some subtle temperatures from his cast.

5/5

First published in the Sunday Independent

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