Movie Review: Taylor Sheridan’s ‘Wind River’ is Gripping, Realistic

The Weinstein Company. Gil Birmingham and Jeremy Renner in Wind River (2017).

Vincent Schilling

Movie Review: Taylor Sheridan’s ‘Wind River’ is Gripping, Realistic and Beautifully-Crafted.

‘Wind River,’ set on a Reservation, has an all-star Native cast, including Gil Birmingham, Graham Greene, Martin Sensmeier, Tantoo Cardinal.

Wind River, which was featured at Cannes and has an American release date of August 4, 2017, is set on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The film stars Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye in Avengers franchise, Bourne Legacy) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch in Avengers and Captain America), and features a list of all-star Native actors, including Gil Birmingham, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal and Martin Sensmeier, among others.

In the film, Renner and Olsen’s characters investigate the murder of a Native woman and interact with Native characters who represent the life on a Native reservation with a true, if difficult reality. The film has received praise from critics and an 86% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wind River was written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, known for Hell or High Water (2016), Sicario(2015) and his work on the TV series Sons of Anarchy (2008-2010).

Wind River is a gripping, realistic and beautifully-crafted film. A Native woman, portrayed by actress Kelsey Asbille (Eastern Band Cherokee), is found dead on the Wind River Indian Reservation. She is also a victim of sexual assault, which is addressed with disturbing consequences.

Jeremy Renner’s character, Cory Lambert, finds the body and later meets with Elizabeth Olsen’s character, FBI agent Jane Banner, and Tribal Police Officer Ben, played by Graham Greene, in an attempt to solve the murder.

This movie is not about “White Saviorism.” Taylor Sheridan has created a profound and gripping reality about the complexities of relationships between different peoples.

I believe this to be the most realistic and respectful portrayal on film of the relationships between Native people and others outside ‘the rez.’

The performances by Gil Birmingham, Graham Greene, Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen are wonderful. I would say for all four actors, they each delivered their finest performance of their careers.

Wind River spoke to me and resonated with me and, in a necessary way, is a devastating look at reality.

Look no further, Wind River is the film to see this year.

One more exceptional note about Wind River is its long list of Native cast and crew members:

Tantoo Cardinal – Alice Crowheart (Cree)
Graham Greene – Tribal Police Officer Ben (Six Nations)
Julia Jones – Wilma (Choctaw, Chickasaw)
Gil Birmingham – Martin (Comanche)
Martin Sensmeier – Chip (Tlinglit, Koyukon Athabascan)
Kelsey Asbille – Natalie (Eastern Band Cherokee)
Tokala Clifford – Sam Littlefeather (Oglala Lakota)
Apesanahkwat – Dan Crowheart (Menominee)
Dana Anquoe – Coroner Assistant (Kiowa)

Joyce Posey – Language Consultant (Eastern Shoshone)
Daryl Ross Begay – Native Advisor (Navajo)
Myrtis ‘Cy’ Begay – Set Production Assistant (Navajo)