Win­ter is com­ing

Tay­lor Sheri­dan’s in­tel­li­gent mur­der mys­tery delves into the wilds of Wy­oming

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L-r: Jeremy ren­ner and Elizabeth olsen

Wind River

15 Jeremy Ren­ner, Elizabeth Olsen ★★★ Warmth is tough to come by in Wind river. the bleak set­ting is an in­dian reser­va­tion in the moun­tains of Wy­oming, where spring brings only more snow. its in­hab­i­tants are hard­ened against a coun­try that’s for­got­ten them. Lo­cal an­i­mal tracker Cory Lam­bert (Jeremy ren­ner) has with­drawn af­ter a per­sonal tragedy. the vi­o­lent death of a young woman puts a crack in this frozen com­mu­nity – a crack that just keeps spread­ing. Flown in to solve the crime is Jane (Elizabeth olsen), a Las Ve­gas FBI agent so out of place it’s a won­der she doesn’t steam when she hits the snow.

the di­rect­ing de­but of tay­lor sheri­dan, writer of the ex­cel­lent Si­cario and Hell Or High Wa­ter, Wind River is osten­si­bly a mur­der mys­tery, but it’s not re­ally told like one. as with his two pre­vi­ous films as screen­writer, sheri­dan messes around with struc­ture, shar­ing in­for­ma­tion spar­ingly. De­tails that most films would give us im­me­di­ately, he gives us an hour in. For a long time we know al­most noth­ing of the rape vic­tim found dead in the snow, even though Cory clearly knows a great deal about her. sounds frus­trat­ing, but it isn’t.

the meat of sheri­dan’s scripts is al­ways in the parts be­tween clues be­ing solved. he wants to delve into ideas on the dif­fer­ence be­tween do­ing the right thing and the nec­es­sary thing, and a na­tion that’s evolv­ing at dif­fer­ent speeds for dif­fer­ent peo­ple. his di­a­logue is beau­ti­ful and pre­cise; some­times it sounds un­nat­u­rally prac­tised, but it’s al­ways in­tel­li­gent and finely honed.

For such a thinky kind of thriller, a lit­tle more thought might have gone into Jane who is com­par­a­tively short­changed as a char­ac­ter. ini­tially a de­ter­mined rookie, she de­volves into vic­tim, her naïve de­ci­sions re­peat­edly re­quir­ing Cory to swoop in on his ski-doo and res­cue her. sheri­dan is a bet­ter writer than di­rec­tor, let­ting a few too many of his scenes stop dead to lux­u­ri­ate in mono­logues, but he shows tons of po­ten­tial. this is a de­but to be proud of. Olly Richards

Who­dunit de­but ski-doos si­cario FARGO

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