Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wind River

I watched Sicario not so long ago and was not impressed. The screen-writer of that movie (Taylor Sheridan) directed this movie: I'm glad I didn't let my disappointment for the earlier movie stop me seeing this one. It is set on an Indian reservation in Wisconson, in a very cold spring. There's so much snow about that no-one can last long without their internals freezing - which is pretty much what happens to Natalie. The question is what caused her to venture out to almost inevitable death? A city-based FBI agent Jane (Elizabeth Olsen) is thrown in the deep and, without backup ("This isn't the land of waiting for back up. This is the land of you're on your own."). Luckily, she joins forces with Ben, the local Bureau of Indian Affairs police chief, and co-opts a Wildlife Ranger, Cory.


Normal police work doesn't work too well out here, so Cory really takes the lead: his tracking skills are vital to untangling the story. He also has his own grief for a very similar event driving him along. Thankfully, the movie didn't do the predictable and push him and Jane towards a romantic entanglement: instead, she really proves her mettle as an FBI agent.

There aren't many people around, so suspects are thin on the ground - some losers who hang around with Natalie's brother are the first port of call. Things lead in a different direction when it is discovered that Natalie had a white boyfriend, and his body is found not long after. We then are given a flashback, shown exactly what happened to the two of them, and its brutal, thuggish behaviour. Jane, Ben and a couple of trigger-happy deputies stumble upon the truth. 
There's a stand-off in which she really takes control of all she can see, but there's someone she can't see. There's a massacre, an echo of the showdown at the OK corral. It isn't exactly clear why Jane is the only one with a bullet-proof vest, but she and the principal perpetrator are the only survivors - Cory was off on his own mission.

The finale is near the peak of Wisconsin's highest peak - Cory takes the fellow up there and gives him the same chance he gave Natalie: to run away. She had pluck and character and made it six miles before the cold defeated her. This fellow - not so much. Although nothing is ever said, it is very likely that by solving this crime, there is closure of the one involving his daughter  as well. The movie ends with Cory and Natalie's dad, just sitting - while dad has lost his daughter, his estranged son has made contact - dad had been ready to die, puts on what he thinks is a death mask (but as soon as I get this shit off my face, I'm going to my son".

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