My rating IMDb Rotten Tomatoes
Critics Audience Critics Audience
9/10 73/100 8.1/10 86% 93%
FBI Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is assigned to investigate the death of a young woman at the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming and she is completely oblivious of the reality she was going to face in that region. The audience watching Wind River will probably feel the same way, since the conditions of these reservations are rarely publicized.
The body of the young woman was found by Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a hunter who was looking for lions that were killing live stock. In the middle of that huge area covered by snow, he found the body and alerted local authorities. The problem: they couldn’t investigate it right away because she was Native American. Indian Reservations are federal land and, therefore, the FBI has jurisdiction over it, which is why Agent Jane Banner was brought in from Nevada.
Cory helps Agent Jane to find out what happened, as he has lost a daughter in similar conditions a few years before. Jane quickly realizes how the reality of that Reservation is completely different of what she thought, and much more dangerous than expected.
Wind River is the final chapter of Taylor Sheridan’s thematic American Frontier trilogy, after Sicario (2015) and Hell or High Water (2016), having written the screenplay for all of them. It is the only one, however, also directed by him and he does a fantastic job in both fronts.
The wide shots of the Reservation covered in snow shows to the audience just how easy it can be to commit crimes there without being caught. The inclement weather also adds to the tension, since it is more difficult to find evidences and to even go from one place to the other in the snowstorms.
It is also nice to see that the cast has Native Americans, since it would be odd not to have them in the Reservation. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen give very strong and compelling performances, and the audience ends up sympathizing with them.
The text shown on screen before the end credits is alarming and heartbreaking, reminding the audience that there is still much to be done to help Native American women in the U.S. Wind River will leave you thinking of that reality and realizing just how oblivious most of us are to what really happens in these lands.