Wind River

As a little preview for the movie, here is what my brother said to me after it finished: “I hate you for making me watch this movie, Chris. I liked it, but I hate you.”

Which is an appropriate response for any movie that has a rape scene.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a fish and wild life manager in Wyoming. While tracking a mountain lion through the Wind River Indian Reservation he happens upon the body of a teenage girl, frozen in the snow. He knows her. She was his daughter’s childhood friend. For Cory, this is a terrible deja vu, because his daughter was found dead in the woods several years ago. Maybe this time, with the help of FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) he can find some closure.

It’s a crime drama in the dead of winter. Remote and out of touch. Beautiful and haunting. Something you come to expect from the writer of Sicario. Besides some early character development with Renner, Wind River is a quick movie. Between the discovery of the body and the final confrontation, only a day or two elapses. Everything feels small, despite the vast landscapes. And there’s very little mystery or whodunnit drama. You’ll see it coming from a mile away.

Which makes you wonder why it’s necessary? Possibly to call attention to the fact that crimes against Native Americans are notoriously under-reported or investigated. But there doesn’t feel like enough social dialogue to justify it. Especially when the two heroes of the story are white people.

Perhaps it is the catharsis. The bad guy gets his comeuppance. We go home happy that justice, such as it is, was served.

Solid film. But I won’t watch it again. If you can’t handle a rape scene, however brief, I wouldn’t watch it either. But there is some reward for the viewer. Maybe you’ll find more than I did, and maybe you’ll find less. All I know for sure is that random Jon Bernthal is random.

3 out of 4 stars.

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