Dir: Taylor Sheridan | Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner | US | Thriller | 111min
Taylor Sheridan was the writer behind Cannes UCR 2016 breakout hit Hell or High Water and scripted the competition title Sicario in 2015. He returned to Cannes this year with his own mystery thriller set in Wyoming and starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.
Shedding more troubling light on American contempo society this action thriller explores events surrounding the violent murder of a teenage girl found in a snowy corner of Wyoming and its investigation by Renner Cory Lambert, a thoughtful wildlife ranger who clearly has some issues relating to the recent loss of his own teenage daughter and breakdown in his marriage. Joining him in the investigation (Sicario-style in black SUV) is Olsen’s rather green FBI sidekick, Jane Banner. Clearly Cory is a hands-on type who is used to the territory, whereas she is not. It soon emerges that the dead girl has a druggie brother whose sidekick Pete (James Jordan) has some past connection with the oil company located on the Indian land, and although her father (Gil Birmingham) offers little insight into possible perpetrators, clues start to reveal that Pete is in some way connected. Their inquiries lead them to an alarming confrontation with a group of Mexican oil-workers who are almost caricatures of a Sam Peckinpah Western in a rather melodramatic second act that feels tonally uneven with what has gone before, almost making it feels like a different film. But Sheridan makes this good in the final segment which brings an engrossing and startling conclusion to events. Ben Richardson’s magnificent camerawork adds flair to what culminates as a watchable thriller, to say more would spoil the ending. Clearly Sheridan is still learning, but his directorial debut lacks the dialogue finesse of his former outings. WIND RIVER is solid entertainment showing Sheridan to be honing his skills as a consummate talent in the making. MT
KVIFF WINNER | BEST AMERICAN DRAMA | CANNES 2017 REVIEW