Wind River

Critics Consensus

Wind River lures viewers into a character-driven mystery with smart writing, a strong cast, and a skillfully rendered setting that delivers the bitter chill promised by its title.



Total Count: 240


Audience Score

User Ratings: 29,163
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Movie Info

WIND RIVER is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American Reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death. Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, WIND RIVER also stars Gil Birmingham, Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones, Kelsey Asbille, and James Jordan.


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Critic Reviews for Wind River

All Critics (240) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (210) | Rotten (30)

Audience Reviews for Wind River

  • May 25, 2018
    From the wonderful mind of Taylor Sheridan, responsible for greats of recent years like Hell or High Water and Sicario, comes another vicious and dreary (yet what feels like an incredibly realistic) tale set in Wyoming on an Native American Reservation. The film offers no reservations for the faint of heart. Jeremy Renner plays a straight arrow widelife hunter. There is never a moment when he is on screen where you feel he might be in any dangr he cant handle. Elizabeth Olsen arrives on scene as the FBI agent out of her element to solve a murder mystery that isnt so much about finding out who did it as it is about understanding a world many of us dont know anything about. Sheridan throws every punch he can to keep you restless and uncomfortable.such is the nature of his films. With a story that takes a bit of a back seat to the environment as a character itself, Wind River thrives when it is in the elements and only drags when too much dialogue replaces the visuals. It's another nearflawless effort from a climbing Hollywood star screenwriter.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2018
    When people talk about about the sleeper hits of 2017, movies that people overlooked in favor other, bigger flicks, this one gets brought up often. Some people even go as far as saying that this was one of the year's best films. I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree on the latter. I think the movie itself has flaws that keep it, in my opinion, from reaching truly great status. The movie certainly was overlooked, as it slid right under everyone's radar. Having said that, even though I think the movie is still very good, what I think the movie does best (and that probably isn't the right word to describe it) is the fact that it shines the spotlight on a very real problem and that is the disconcerting number of sexual assaults of Native Indian women on reservations. It also brings up, in a title card at the end, that there are no missing-person statistics kept for Native Indian women, while they are kept for every other demographic, so the real number of missing Native women remains unknown. And that's infuriating to know. It's also infuriating to know that, honestly, no one seems to be doing anything about it and changing this. Putting more efforts in finding these women. Or even keeping basic stats, so people know the real number. This movie, unfortunately, being a smaller film, probably doesn't have enough reach. But it's the type of movie that forces you to confront an uncomfortable truth. And you know how some certain white people are, who refuse to acknowledge their own society's problems because it doesn't make them feel good. These people deny institutional racism even exists, they refuse to acknowledge the plight of minorities. So, of course, they're gonna ignore the plight of Native women, because it doesn't make them feel good about their past, as if their concerns should be the primary ones. Having said that, let's move on to the narrative, shall we? I should start off by saying that I thought that this was a very good movie. I really did. Cory, a tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service, helps a novice FBI agent, Jane, uncover the truth about the death of a teenage girl and the circumstances surrounding it. Cory knows the girl, as she was her daughter's best friend. His daughter also died some years ago. So he's got a stake in finding out who's behind this. Not only does it help bring some closure to Natalie's family, whom he's friends with, but it might bring him some form of closure for his own daughter's death, even if the person responsible for Natalie's death may not be the same one for his daughter's death. The tone of the movie is definitely very melancholic, full of sorrow and grief. It makes sense, since this community is tight-knit and, in a way, it's like Cory is losing his daughter all over again. So I liked that part of it, just exploring the nature of grief and loss and how to deal with it. Cory says something that I found interesting, he says that Natalie's father, Martin, needs to face the pain or else he'll pretty much erase every memory of her. Her first steps, her last smile, etc. And that's interesting, because it's definitely got a lot of truth behind it. It's never gonna get easier, you just learn to live with it. Cory is still going through that process of learning to deal with it and facing the pain head-on. The problem, though, that I have with the flick is that it really plays out like a police procedural for the most part. Follow this lead, which leads you to this guy, who gives you another lead to follow up and so on and so forth. And, for such a personal story, that's an impersonal way to tell it. I suppose it's not, given the fact that Cory isn't helping Jane in order to bring the assailant(s) to justice, he's doing this so he can kill the guy responsible, or aid in this guy's death somehow. The dynamic is interesting in that Jane, while obviously having good intentions, sort of step on everyone's toes during the investigation. She's also a little slow to put some of the puzzle pieces together. But, again, her intentions are to be helpful and bring the people responsible to justice. As far as character development is concerned, however, Cory is more interesting. Jane has a great moment near the end, when Cory tells her that she's stronger than she realizes, because she survived the harsh environments, regardless of what they threw at her. But, again, I had some problems with the way the story was told and, if I'm being honest, I felt that the climax itself was a little clumsy. What I mean by that is that it just sort of comes out of nowhere. There comes a point where Jane, Ben (Tribal Police chief) and some deputies go to this drill site. There they show a flashback of what really happened, before there's a shootout between the two sides. I felt that this was a little bit rushed, honestly. Like they just introduced the villain(s), before they almost immediately killed all of them off. Now, these people are certainly very detestable, to be sure, but I felt that the movie could have gotten a bit more mileage out of this. Like maybe they go to the drill site, confront the workers and then are forced to leave. You let things simmer before, eventually, they blow over. But that's not what they do, they just force in a shootout when you least expect it simply because the movie has no more time left. And that's what I meant when I said that the climax was a little clumsy in execution. Another problem with this is the fact that the lead villain, or the one most responsible for what happened, is not particularly effective. You certainly come to hate him for his actions, but what I mean when I say he's not effective is that the actor playing this character, James Jordan, honestly isn't that good. Which is a shame, because Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen are fantastic here and the supporting cast is also top-notch. But this guy, he sticks out like a sore thumb with his...lack of talent. Maybe he's good at other types of roles, but he absolutely sucked here. Perhaps suck is a strong word, but he sucked in comparison to the rest of the cast. He was just wildly inconsistent. The film is beautifully shot and there's a certain lonely feel to the setting, which is by design. This place isn't meant to be welcoming and they do capture that feeling very well. While I don't think that this was a great movie as others thought, it was still very good. But, again, the most important thing about this movie isn't whether or not it's good, it's that it forces people to face a truth that they might not have even known about. It's a movie that, one hopes, will bring about some change and some of these Native women (and their families) will get the justice that they deserve. I'd recommend it, but don't come in expecting a classic.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Apr 29, 2018
    Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen star in the intense crime thriller Wind River. When a girl is found raped and murdered on an Indian reservation an FBI agent is called in and teams up with a wildlife officer to track down the killer. Both Renner and Olsen give incredibly strong performances, and director Taylor Sheridan does an impressive job at creating an atmospheric tone. The writing too is well-done, creating a dramatic and compelling murder mystery. Provocative and full of intrigue, Wind River is a remarkably engaging film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2018
    Taylor Sheridan is an excellent screenwriter but here directs a barely average effort that, despite Renner's solid performance, fails to be cohesive enough and offer compelling motivations for Olsen's character, who is mostly wasted and doesn't have that much to do in all this.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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