Sunday, 7 January 2018

Wind River (2017)

"Excellent, Gripping and Surprisingly Moving Crime Thriller"

That warm feeling that we're only a couple of days into the year but already I can start my 'Best Of Year' nominees list has been triggered this year by WIND RIVER, a crime thriller set in snowy Wyoming and getting a digital download, DVD & Blu-ray release from STX / Sony this month.

Jeremy Renner is Cory Lambert, a tracker whose main job is to keep local predators under control. While hunting a family of mountain lions who are killing cattle, Cory happens upon the frozen body of Native American Natalie (Kelsey Asbille). Rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is called in. She soon finds investigating a murder on an Indian reservation with few law enforcement officers and resistance from the local white workforce to be a challenge she will need all of Cody's tracking skills to help with.

Very much a character piece (althought there's action when the plot demands it), WIND RIVER offers us measured performances, careful direction, and some stunning location photography. The film is not so much a whodunit as an observation piece on how and why such crimes happen, and the reaction of the society in which they do. The leads are excellent and writer-director Taylor Sheridan offers a fine comparison between the stark landscape and the stark brutalities those who live there are capable of.

The one mis-step in WIND RIVER, if only from my point of view, is that quite a bit of the dialogue is mumbled to the point of being unintelligible, especially early on. Sony's Blu-ray does have subtitles, but of the kind that lets you know there is 'ominous music' on the soundtrack, or that the 'ominous voices continue' which does detract a bit from the atmosphere. 

The movie looks stunning on Blu-ray, and extras include a couple of deleted scenes and three short behind the scenes featurettes with Renner, Olson and Sheridan. 

Very good indeed and surprisingly moving, WIND RIVER is an excellent gloomy crime piece that's deserving of a look when it's out later this month. 

Taylor Sheridan's WIND RIVER is out from STX & Sony on digital download on 8th January 2018, and on DVD & Blu-ray on Monday 22nd January 2018

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