Taylor Sheridan continues his strong run with “Wind River”


In short order, Taylor Sheridan has become one of the most exciting screenwriters in the business. The one two punch of Sicario and especially Hell or High Water is really just tremendous. Now, he also is a full on filmmaker as well, directing his latest script. The film is Wind River, which debuted to strong reviews at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. It hits theaters this weekend and is really top notch. It’s among the best things so far this year. Sheridan is for real folks. He’s a star and a future top tier A-list storyteller in Hollywood.

The movie is a crime thriller/procedural, though as with all of Sheridan’s works, it’s about much more than initially meets the eye. For this one, the story centers on the investigation of a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation which gives the film its namesake. Almost all crimes on this land go unsolved, as the reservation is horribly understaffed, so when the FBI is brought in, inexperienced Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is initially in way over her head. She recruits a veteran game tracker in Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) to help navigate the land, partly due to his father in law living on the reservation and his familiarity with the terrain. In addition, he also has a very personal connection to the victim. Of course, things aren’t as they appear and the danger is even greater than assumed. Things end up more or less how you’d expect, but the route it takes is very well done. Sheridan writes and directs, as previously mentioned. Also in the cast are Kelsey Asbille, Jon Bernthal, Gil Birmingham, Teo Briones, Graham Greene, Julia Jones, Martin Sensmeier, and more. Warren Ellis contributes the score after also doing the same (with Nick Cave) on Hell or High Water. As for the cinematography, that’s being done by the underrated Ben Richardson.

This film is very quiet, but incredibly powerful. Renner gets his best role in some time and absolutely knocks it out of the park. Olsen is strong too, as is the entire cast, but Renner is without question the best in show. Sheridan’s screenplay is excellent, if slightly smaller scale than his previous two outings. As a director, he has a clear cut vision and executes it with aplomb. This is a procedural, sure, but it also turns out to be a very human story. As long as you don’t go in expecting overt fireworks, there’s every reason that this should be a really successful movie in almost anyone’s eyes. It delivers the good, plain and simple.


Awards wise, Wind River might end up slipping through the cracks. If not, it will take a very targeted campaign to make anything Oscar related happen. Should a full court press be made, Best Picture, Best Director (for Sheridan), Best Actor (for Runner), Best Actress (for Olsen), Best Original Screenplay (also for Sheridan), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score would be citations sought out. Realistically, the only plays are in Picture, Actor for Renner, and Original Screenplay for Sheridan. Frankly, as deserving as Renner is, it’s probably Sheridan’s script or nothing. Sadly, nothing likely is the outcome. Anything is possible though, as Hell or High Water certainly exceeded initial expectations.

Starting Friday, you can see Wind River for yourself and understand why it’s so good. Sheridan being the creator of a project is quickly becoming an assurance of top tier quality. The film manages to entertain within the standards of the genre while also doing something a little bit different. Whatever Sheridan opts to do next, believe me when I say I’m 100% there for it. Once you see this one, you will be too. Give it a shot and see just how consistent the scribe is. Especially if you dug Sicario or Hell or High Water, this is a must see. You’ll understand why once you see it…

Be sure to check out Wind River, beginning its theatrical run this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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