Movie Review: WIND RIVER

Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen star in WIND RIVER, a powerful character driven crime thriller set on a Native American reservation in Wyoming.

It's the first movie directed by Taylor Sheridan, a former actor who  wrote last year's Oscar nominated  HELL OR HIGH WATER, and I highly recommend it.

Renner: I need emergency assistance: the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Jeremy Renner as Fish and Wildlife employee Cory Lambert discovers in the snow the body of a young woman who was a close friend of his own daughter.

Jurisdictional issues require the FBI to lead the investigation into how the woman died.

The nearest agent is Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner from Las Vegas, who arrives expecting spring weather.

The local sheriff played by Graham Greene scoffs at her light clothing in the middle of a snow storm, but Cory is helpful.

Cory: Let's get you fixed up inside.

Jane: Thanks. Excuse me. Thanks.

Sheriff (whispering to Cory): See what they send us.

Jane may be unprepared but she's a smart and capable investigator who knows she'll need lots more help from Cory.

Cory: She ran until she dropped here. You can see the pool of blood where her face hit the snow…..Her lungs burst here.

Jane: How far do you think someone could run barefoot out here?

Cory: I knew that girl. She's a fighter, so no matter how far you think she ran, I can guarantee she ran further.

Jane: This is a homicide.

In a more conventional Hollywood movie, Cory and Jane would become romantically involved as the plot unfolds. But WIND RIVER is much more than a crime thriller though it does include several intense violent action scenes.

Even more important, though, are the characters of these two unlikely partners, especially Renner's Cory, a man struggling with guilt and grief, because he lost his own daughter under similar circumstances.

All of this is against the backdrop of the Wind River reservation, not ancestral lands but a remote, isolated region where this tribe has been forced to live for a century and where many of the young men spend their days doing drugs.

Cory: I'm not gonna stand here and tell you life's fair, cause it ain't.

WIND RIVER has been showing in Honolulu for over a month which says a lot about what a compelling piece of drama it is.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.