By Jim Tortolano
Most murder mysteries in movies seem to occur in urban areas with lots of chases down grungy alleys and under the glare of artificial light, often with a pretty artificial plotline.
“Wind River” is set in the snow-laden mountain country of Wyoming, and takes a unique path, giving us interesting looks into the seemingly disparate words of wilderness tracking, crime forensics, family dynamics and the status of Native Americans.
A woman, Natalie Hanson (played by Kelsey Asbille) is found raped and dead in the frozen wastes of an Indian reservation, and local authorities call the FBI., since such a reserve is considered a federal jurisdiction. Help arrives in the form of Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), who is a Floridian a bit out of her element.
She enlists the aid of Fish and Wildlife game tracker Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a laconic and troubled man haunted by the loss of his teenage daughter. They join forces along with tribal police chief Ben (Graham Greene, himself a Native American).
The story winds slowly but surely, with the weather a metaphor for the loneliness and unforgiving effects of nature and life. As the hunt for the woman’s killer (or killers) advances, a relationship between Jane and Corey slowly and subtly builds.
Don’t want to give too much away here, but writer-director Taylor Sheridan has created a quiet gem here, with nary a mystery cliché in sight. If some of the characters herein act senselessly, it fits within the context of the life they lead.
“Wind River” is a soft-spoken tale of isolation, desperation and the human ability to survive. No superheroes here, just people at their best and worst.
“Wind River” is rated R for violence, alcohol and drug abuse.
Categories: Arts & Leisure