Wind River – The Best Movie You Haven’t Heard of this Summer

Wind River is the reason I wanted to start his movie blog. Not Wind River specifically (in fact my original intent was for Dunkirk to be my first standalone review) but the type of film that it represents: masterful films that get little to no mainstream recognition.

If your Snob-odometers are starting to kick and click and you’re already eyeing the vault where you keep your hazmat suit, rest assured, Wind River nor the type of film I’m broadly referring to is not some black and white Austrian indie film about 2 plates of meat slowly decomposing. No, they’re movies like the Dunkirk’s of the world in terms of quality that operate on smaller budget and smaller scope with little known (or none at all) pre-existing IP, and therefore don’t get the marketing push they deserve. Ipso facto (first time using that phrase properly/non-jokingly) almost no one ever knows it exists.

So now that you know Wind River exists let me do the distribution companies’ job and sell you on it…

Wind River is a 21st century western following the aftermath of the rape and murder of young, Native-American girl on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, and the teamu-up of an inexperienced FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen [Scarlet Witch]), the local reservation Sheriff (Graham Greene), and a hunter (Jeremy Renner [Hawkeye]) to find the man responsible.

Writer-Director Taylor Sheridan concludes his “New Frontier” Trilogy (I’m almost begging you on hands and knees to watch Sicario and Hell or High Water if you haven’t already) with a powerful character study propelled by Sheridan’s brutal and poetic dialogue, a restrained, yet unsettling score, and a commanding performance by Hawkeye, I mean Renner. The film deftly moves from quiet scenes filled with moments of pain and lament to intense bursts of violence that just seem to punch you in the face and leave you gasping for air afterward.

The theme, much like the plot, is simple, but profound: in this wilderness you are either predator or prey, and your chances of survival are predicated only on the strength of your will to live. This theme drives every moment of the film, and defines the characters and their perspectives of the world. And through it all, this film, quietly, poses important questions about the current state of Native-American life and their relationship with the U.S. without ever even considering taking a preachy, condescending tone with the audience. Its message is as blunt as the rest of film, and will no doubt leave you staring at screen long after the credits stopped rolling…and you’re subsequently kicked out for loitering.

Phew! That was more serious than I’m use to being.


Duly noted Scarecrow. Anyway…conclusion: go see the best western since Logan, which wasn’t long ago I guess, but you get what I’m putting down.

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