This is a poetic, poignant, even painful portrait of a landscape so magnificent in its being, but ruthless in its demands; a landscape that celebrates its beauty but shuns man’s meddling; “Wind River” reveres, respects its isolation, segregation, its unwillingness to be part of the sphere; the vastness of the Wyoming, Native American reservation is the focus of Taylor Sheridan’s (“Hell or High Water”) scenario of rape, murder and the effects on those seeking accountability for an indescribable injustice.
A young woman, running barefoot on the glacial, icy tundra, expires, claimed by an insensitive, panoramic, poisonous topography; a U.S. Wildlife tracker “Cory Lambert” (penetrating portrayal by Jeremy Renner) discovers the body of eighteen-year-old “Natalie” (exquisite Kelsey Asbille) a Native American whose boyfriend is an American driller; F.B.I. agent “Jane Banner ” (Elizabeth Olsen, struggles but eventually owns the role), commences as a neophyte, unqualified for the climate or the job, her innate intelligence, skills, and lack of arrogance gain respect from local law enforcement.
Sheridan’s writing peels away layers of misconceptions, anomalies; prescient conversations between Cory and “Martin” (Gil Birmingham), devastated father of Natalie, and the reservation’s policeman, “Ben” played inimitably by Graham Green, enlighten viewers to the insurmountable vicissitudes facing disenfranchised Native Americans.
Cinematographer, Ben Richardson, captures succinctly, the marvelous aura of the setting, unveiling through gratuitous violence, the culprits; ultimately it is the uncompromising, unbiased terrain that frigidly magistrates the penalty for egregious malfeasance.