Wind River

Release Date: August 4, 2017
Review Date: August 13, 2017
Reviewer: Blake Leath
Genre(s): Horror, Suspense, Thriller

Oh, SNAP! This one's good, y'all!

From [Texan] Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water), Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Patriots Day, Friday Night Lights), and the Weinstein Brothers (The Hateful Eight, Pulp Fiction, and virtually 30% of everything equally "nice and violent" that's come out of Hollywood since '81), what could possibly go wrong here?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. 

The only banana peel beneath Wind River has been its marketing and distribution: Is it a western? A revenge thriller? A whodunit? A remake of Willem Dafoe's 2011 The Hunter? Why is it not playing in wide release to displace The Emoji Movie, Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, Kidnap, or The Dark Tower? Someone dropped the ball, clearly, and judging by the 2016 copyright I gather it's been delayed and delayed since last fall, ultimately being tossed last minute into the market alongside fluffy summer fare. Unfortunately, in this heat it shall melt and be gone by noon.

With the exception of War for the Planet of the Apes, Detroit, and Dunkirk (which is on its way out), Wind River is far and away the best movie of the weekend.

Sheridan is Midas and Wind Riverwhich completes his contemporary western trilogydoes not disappoint. It feels like Silence of the Lambs meets Pale Rider if Clarice Starling were to observe after a gratifying whuppin', "There's nothin' like a nice piece of hickory."

Granted, Elizabeth Olsen is no Jodie Foster, Jeremy Renner is no Scott Glenn, and Wind River is no labyrinthine puzzle, but feeling it tumble then slot together in the final fifteen minutes is satisfying like picking the lock then slamming the door behind you as you dart from the house.

Bottom-line: See It.

Meantime, if you want just a few morsels more...

 

----SPOILER ALERT----

 

 

 

When justice gets dealt (and believe you me, it gets dealt), the man who sat in the row in front of me characterized it best by summarizing, "Yep, that's what I'da done." Judging from the audience's rapturous applause, I gather every parent agreed.

I would like to say that "everyone shines in this thriller," because that's the sentiment, but it would be more accurate to say, "everyone is understated and unremarkable, exactly as they intended to be."

It's a quiet one, like Wyoming itself (described here as "nothing but snow and silence"), but it's also a slow burn. A very gratifying slow burn.

It's got so many phenomenal one-liners, from "I'm a hunter. What do you think I'm doing?" to "She ran six miles barefoot in the snow. That's a warrior. Warrior." 

I could go on and on, because there's enough fodder here for a trilogy unto itself, but my best advice would simply be to finish what the marketing team began by encouraging you to go see the dang film. It'll be gone in a week or two, and that's a crime in and of itself. It should have followed The Girl on the Train last October and sopped up all that autumn momentum.

When Wind River finally winds its way to your castle, butter up that popcorn and grab a beer, 'cause it's a good 'un that warrants some burrowing and time.