Taylor Sheridan only has two writing credits to his name so far, but they happen to be the critically praised Sicario and Hell or High Water. Now the actor/writer makes his directorial début with Wind River starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. Set on the Wind River Indian Reservation or as it’s known as, the place where your will to live goes to die, US Wildlife Agent Cory Lambert (Renner) investigates the dead body of one of the residents found in the middle of the frozen woods. Expecting foul play was involved, they call for the assistance of FBI agent Jane Banner (Olsen). The Duo races to backtrack the victim’s steps to find her killer in dire conditions.
One thing I have to give Sheridan credit for is that he has shown a great mind for dialogue. His ability to create an authentic modern western present the world that is rarely seen in today’s Hollywood cinema. Working with directors Denis Villenueve and David Mackenzie on previous projects clearly inspired the visual direction of Sheridan. With this project, the scenery is much more simplistic for Rural Wyoming. One of the two things that drags down the film is Elizabeth Olsen. I couldn’t help but feel she was miscast. Even though they presented her as being in over her head, I can’t bring myself to believe that she was a seasoned enough FBI agent to handle this task in any capacity. Secondly, as well written as the setup of the film is, it really falls apart in the 3rd act when we discover the ‘whodunit’ and the motivation behind the crime turns out to be a real letdown.
Wind River is still a good movie that needs more polishing to be a great movie. One thing is for sure, Taylor Sheridan is the real deal and has quickly become one of the best screenwriters in Hollywood.