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Review: Frost-bitten thriller Wind River has unusual depth and honesty

PUBLISHED: 09:30 08 September 2017

Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner and Graham Greene as Ben in Wind River. Photo: STX Entertainment

Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner and Graham Greene as Ben in Wind River. Photo: STX Entertainment

Archant

Taylor Sheridan’s gripping drama about an FBI agent and a game tracker hunting a killer on a Native American reservation in wintry Wyoming delivers something real.

Hugh Dillon as Curtis, Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner and Graham Greene as Ben in Wind River. Photo: STX Entertainment Hugh Dillon as Curtis, Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner and Graham Greene as Ben in Wind River. Photo: STX Entertainment

Wind River (15)

****

Scandi-noir comes to the Native American reservation in this directorial debut by Taylor Sheridan, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Hell Or High Water and Sicario.

There are bodies half buried in snow, a miss matched investigation duo, a hero haunted by something in his past and vast, white, forbidding terrain; but no subtitles.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) works as a tracker for the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, where he hunts predators that threaten livestock.

During one sortie into the wilderness, Cory stumbles upon the frozen body of 18-year-old Natalie Hanson (Kelsey Chow).

Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner and Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert in Wind River. Photo: STX Entertainment Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner and Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert in Wind River. Photo: STX Entertainment

She has been sexually assaulted and rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) arrives soon after from the Las Vegas office to take charge of the investigation.

The lawmakers join forces with tribal police chief Ben (Graham Greene) to unmask the culprit and dole out justice on behalf of the victim’s grief-stricken father (Gil Birmingham).

A haphazard array of evidence implicates Natalie’s wastrel brother Chip (Martin Sensmeier) and her boyfriend Matt (Jon Bernthal).

Meanwhile, Cory is haunted by a tragedy closer to home and the devastating impact on his wife Wilma (Julia Jones) and young son, Casey (Teo Briones).

It’s an uncommonly good crime drama. Its route takes in a selection of cliched moments but the journey between them have unusual depth and honesty, and the social agenda is slipped in very discretely.

Inspired by ‘True Events’ title cards usually come with their own pinch of salt but this made up story delivers something real.

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