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Wind River - Film Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
I'm retired, busy with volunteer radio and (with my wife) going to the theatre and enjoying 'fine dining".
Published September 17th 2017
Based on a true tragedy


Imagine a bleak, cold, snow-covered arid landscape. A young woman, barefooted, is running for her life. We see her fall, and her life is gone.

Cut to Jeremy Renner, playing Cory Lambert, a hunter who tracks and kills predatory animals. While on the trail of a mountain lion, he finds the young woman who, it turns out, was a close friend of Cory's daughter. Both women had been assaulted, both were raped and both died.

Nearly all the people we meet in "Wind River" are victims of this unforgiving terrain, or of not so long past massacres of native Americans. Most of those with ambition and energy have left. Those who remain find ways of coping or finding oblivion and the women on the reservation are particularly at risk. Many movies are pleasant, entertaining, superficial and unmemorable.

"Wind River" with its confronting plot and setting is none of the above. Yes, it does grab attention and retain it for the entirety of the movie.

Back to the storyline. Homicide is a FBI matter, and they assign an attractive, young, and inexperienced officer, so unused to the conditions in Wyoming that she would be dead in five minutes, Cory tells her, if she attempted to go to the crime scene dressed in the inadequate clothing she is wearing. Cory often seems cold yet passionately focused on finding the killer. "I'm a hunter" he tells the father.

Performances are without exception excellent. Outstanding are Jeremy Renner, in the role of Cory, Ms Olsen as the perceptive and empathetic FBI agent, and Graham Greene as the ageing local Police chief, who expects little, is given little support, yet does what he can. The tension builds, slowly and inexorably, leading to a climax worthy of Quentin Tarantino.

What we may well remember is not only the dénouement but the slow unrelenting depiction of a cold climate and of a community largely devoid of hope or purpose.

Pleasant, entertaining, and superficial "Wind River" is not.

Well-crafted, confronting and memorable – that it is.


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Why? Confronting, compelling viewing
When: On release
Where: Cinemas across Australia
Cost: $18
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