O@tM: Wind River

Just FYI: The final and last part of Taylor Sheridan’s film trilogy about the modern American frontier. The two prequels were Sicario and Hell or High Water, which were directed by far better directors while Taylor Sheridan concentrated on the screenplay. Maybe the unfamiliar double task was what makes Wind River the weakest of the three? Well, let’s see:

This time with ice and snow.

WIND RIVER is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American Reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death.

A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.

IMDb: 7.8

Tomatometer: Critics 87%, Audience 91%

Dances with sheep

Both summaries from the IMDb website are describing the move’s plot kinda exactly while missing the core completely. But that happens. Particularly with movies like this one, a movie so full of good intention, it loses track of itself and ends up in the big white nowhere. Not with a bang but with a whimper, exactly like the evil guy after meeting his cold-hearted executioner, Jeremy Renner’s character.

Nevertheless this could havebeen one of  the most exciting scenes, a wonderfully dramatic climax to this slow brooding drama. Unfortunately it left hubby and me cold as well.

Hawkeye needs glasses?

We really didn’t know what to make of Wind River. It wasn’t much of a thriller in so far as the killer presented himself more or less, ready to be plucked off. Was it an action flick? Nope. We’ve seen some ultraviolent shootout, ok. But that was more or less the extent of action in Wind River. So what remains is the drama, the characters, which make 90% of  a good movie anyway.

A Mexican Wyoming standoff!

But, oy vey, Elizabeth Olsen‘s rookie FBI agent Jane Banner was a cartoonish cutout figure as can be. Imagine this: Hailing from Ft. Lauderdale, stationed in Las Vegas, she was the closest available FBI agent to be sent to Wyoming? And of course she doesn’t have any winter clothes to wear. Of course she fits perfectly into Jeremy Renner’s Cory Lambert character’s dead daughter’s snow suit. What a coincidence. How realistic is that please?

“Believe it or not, I’m FBI” “Well, I chose not to believe you?.”

Talking about Jeremy Renner, yes, he was good in Wind River. Very good. Eventhough he was paired with Olsen, another Marvel Avenger, we completely forgot his Hawkeye figure. That didn’t help his role in Wind River.

A grieving father.

Renner was in fact playing another figure like taylormade (see what I did there?) for big drama. Couple years earlier his daughter froze to death, same as our murder victim and she was, wonder over wonder, also her bestest bestie. So our tracker/hunter knew the victim, and also her parents. Of course he’s very familar with the people in the reservation, and his ex-wife is even Indian. Can we please have some more clichés, Taylor Sheridan?

“Hey, you’re Indian, not a fukn Scotsman!”

Ok, that was all shit. Now let’s look at the positive sides: The acting was great throughout the whole cast. Gil Birmingham becoming a staple in Taylor Sheridan movies it seems, so is Jon Bernthal. And it was very nice to see Kevin Costner’s old sidekick from Dances with Wolves, Graham Greene on the screen again. The old man still oozes coolness all over the frozen tundra. 🙂

Dances with FBI agents.

And coming to what’s so good about Taylor Sheridan as a script writer, he knows how to use his characters. Eventhough our leads were a bit constructed the dialogue was sharp and to the point.

“She’s, like, totally cool.”

And as typical in his movies the landscape became a character in its own right. The environment plays a big role in forming the characters who live and act in it. Eventhough the other two movies, which were located in the semi-arid southwestern parts of the USA, were the better movies, he totally succeeded as a director to bring the wintery environment to its best use.

Someone had fun making an snow angel.

In some scenes you could really feel the cold creeping up your spine. And you knew instinctively why the characters acted the way they did, how the environment shapes the people. But then again, Sicario and Hell or High Water did it even better.


“HEY!!! LISTEN! I’M FBI!!!” “Nobody believes you, babe.”

Remember how I didn’t like Sicario for the weak protagonist? It’s different with Wind River. Here I don’t like any of the figures. Not because they aren’t nice but just because they are unbelievable.

Hänsel und Gretel verliefen sich im Wald …

So, what remains of Wind River? Not much to be honest. It wasn’t bad, not a bad movie at all. In fact it was great in parts. But as the climax to a screenwriting trilogy, and three movies with very good cast and directors we’ve expected more. More drama, more action, more engagement, more better!


Not bad. But a wasted chance for greatness.

“I swear, it wasn’t us.”


Yes. Particularly if you’ve seen and liked Sicario and Hell or High Water, this is a must watch!

Running away from death is deadly.


I like Chris, but I guess he was a bit too gullible this time.

Come on, Jeremy, the mystery wasn’t that good.

ScarJo’s prettier twin sister has an opinion too. 🙂


Alachia is a real Taylor Sheridan fangurl and highly educated I guess. But she doesn’t know how to pronounce Denis Villeneuve. 😮

And just for you, here’s a Trailooooorrr!!!


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