The Parkview Pantera

Wind River

Peter Fedyk, Editor in Cheif

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Wind River, written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, is just as chilling and gritty as it’s desolate Wyoming setting. The film takes place on Wind River, a Native American reservation oppressed by the constant snow storms and the federal government. Missing persons rarely are investigated and the people of Wind River lack the hope most modern societies have the luxury of experiencing. The story follows Corey Lambert (portrayed excellently by Jeremy Renner), a white game hunter who married into the native culture and later divorced due to the tragic and unsolved death of his biracial daughter. When Corey stumbles across another dead native girl, frostbitten and miles from any structure, he attempts to vicariously find redemption for his daughter’s death with the help of a rookie federal agent.Wind River, written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, is just as chilling and gritty as it’s desolate Wyoming setting. The film takes place on Wind River, a Native American reservation oppressed by the constant snow storms and the federal government. Missing persons rarely are investigated and the people of Wind River lack the hope most modern societies have the luxury of experiencing. The story follows Corey Lambert (portrayed excellently by Jeremy Renner), a white game hunter who married into the native culture and later divorced due to the tragic and unsolved death of his biracial daughter. When Corey stumbles across another dead native girl, frostbitten and miles from any structure, he attempts to vicariously find redemption for his daughter’s death with the help of a rookie federal agent. Wind River is dark, unsettling, and offers a heartbreaking reminder of the still scrutinized native people. This contrasts perfectly with the stunning shots right from the opening credits; we are introduced to this world, our world, with a wide shot of the movie’s main MacGuffin stumbling bloodied and barefoot under the pale moonlight. Every shot is gorgeous. As the film progresses and the investigation unfolds, the wintery backdrop becomes more and more sinister. Wind River itself, in all of its beauty and desolation, is a character: the arbiter of every resident’s fate. The setting’s effects can also be seen in close ups, each character rugged and weathered by their sub zero surroundings.  Before I saw the film, I was quite skeptical of the casting choice for the two leads. Jeremy Renner (Corey Lambert) has proved himself to be an excellent actor in the past with the likes of Hurt Locker, but I was uncertain of how he’d handle a film written by Sheridan. These worries held true for the female lead of Jane Banner, portrayed by Emily Olsen. By no means is she a bad actress but her lack of standout performances stuck out like drops of blood in the snow. However, both actor and actress were fantastic in their roles. Renner disappeared into his character. His pain was felt through his every action and I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by what is probably his best performance. It seemed as though the actor himself had known the pain of losing your most valuable creation. Although she wasn’t as prominent as Renner, Olsen was quite exemplary as the fish out of water FBI agent and absolutely proved she was worth more than her recognizable surname.  This is easily the best film of the year so far. Words do little to attest to the raw and visceral emotion it’s dark tale weaves. If an incredibly moving film could become more than the sum of its parts in two lines of text, it’d be written by Taylor Sheridan. In the final frames, two old friends contemplate the world and its evils as they perceive them while the heartbreaking truth that no statistics for missing Native Americans is compiled appears. Wind River is more than a fantastic film; it’s a reminder that this country still treats the original inhabitants like animals. It’s a reminder that something needs to change before it’s too late. All I can ask is that you go see Wind River. It’s more than a movie.

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Wind River