Monday, September 4, 2017

Wind River


Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River demonstrates the often divergent imperatives of art and life. Sheridan has said the movie is "based on thousands of actual stories just like it." "Investigating a Murder in 'Wind River,'"NPR, 8/5/17). In the end, the director furnishes an epigraph iterating the fact that Native American Women show the lowest numbers of data in regard to missing persons cases. However the disquisition is that of a highly aestheticized thriller replete with scenes of both melodrama and wrenching suspense. The documentary aspects are presented both as a prologue and a coda, but the interior of the movie uses well-planted lacunae together with the ominous sounding music of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis to create an air of danger. Wolves and coyotes threaten lambs. Women are the prey of crazed drug addicted men and US Fish and Wildlife Service Agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) becomes the hero who turns mad nature on its head, restoring an almost biblical order to the universe. But why not simply tell the tale of rape and murder against a background of the injustices that affect Native Americans. As it now stands the real issues play second fiddle to the drama of the narrative. One wonders what Wind River would have looked like if the dictates of the crime scenes had dictated the action rather than factitious drama. What Sheridan has ended up with is a rural police procedural/romance. A subplot concerns the collaboration between Lambert and a female FBI agent, Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) who has been assigned to the case. “You fought for your life,” says our tracker hero to his wounded colleague at the end. “Now you get to walk away with it.” However, what’s the fate of all those who are left behind?

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