WIND RIVER is the third script from Taylor Sheridan, the pensman behind such awesomeness as SICARIO and HELL OR HIGH WATER. He steps out from behind his desk on this one and debuts as director. WIND RIVER is releasing next Thursday 10th August in Australia from ICON Film Distribution and thanks to those wonderful folks you can win a pack of awesome prizes. Double tickets to the movie plus 5x DVDs. Check out the review and then find out how to enter down below. WIND RIVER will be rated MA15+ and runs for 111mins. 


Wind River Jeremy Renner image
Jeremy Renner




Renner (THE HURT LOCKER among many films) plays Cory Lambert, a wildlife officer in Wyoming. When he discovers the body of a young Native American woman while hunting, the FBI come knocking. Rookie agent Jane Banner (Olsen, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON; INGRID GOES WEST) is assigned to the case and acquires Lambert’s aid in the inhospitable, frozen terrain. As the puzzle comes together, we build a picture of both the present and past of this unforgiving and violent land. Superbly directing his own screenplay, Sheridan brings his trademark sense of place, fully drawn characters and real emotion to bear. This stylish, potent mystery also features the superb musical talents of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.


Sheridan was mostly known up until a couple of years ago as an actor on SONS OF ANARCHY. He played a sheriff on the show dealing regularly with the biking gangs. He was ok in the show, a minor player. Who would’ve thought that sheriff would become one of the best screenplay writers of recent years. A writer that encapsulates a darker sinister side to American life. WIND RIVER will complete his screenplay trilogy that has come to be known as his American Frontier Trilogy. SICARIO blew us away with its look into law enforcement corruption and the Mexican cartel side of America, HELL OR HIGH WATER (my fave) looked into the effects and travesty of financial institutions and how this altered a middle American family and WIND RIVER looks into the effects of desolation and survival instincts of people in snowy remote Utah.

WIND RIVER delves into much more. It encompasses the ineffectiveness of policing and budget cuts, how the people in this area of the world truly are still living in a frontier and on their own and it brutally shows the treatment of women and how there isn’t many people to stand up for them in such desolate areas. But while these are all so depressingly heartbreaking the film also gives you redemption, family, and retribution. Sheridan’s writing, dialogue and stories are sublime, I cannot wait to see what he does next.


Wind River Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene image
Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene



While Sheridan’s screenplay is sublime and this movie is enthralling, he is very new to directing and due to that he missed some much needed tweaking of the screenplay and some directing weaknesses are minimally evident. That being said, for a directorial debut it is one of the best on record. WIND RIVER comes across more like a Swedish crime movie or TV show. It has that remote oddness to it mixed with a modern Western and all set in a subzero unforgiving environment with sprinkles of Native American spiritualism. My parents are going to love this movie!

Ben Richardson’s (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS) cinematography superbly captures the harsh environment and the uneasy tone of the movie. You can feel the isolation and chill in every frame. The movie does however move at a unique, oft slow, pace and a lot of the time you really have no idea where it is going but then BAMMM, out of nowhere, you are in a massive action sequence that is somewhat jarring to the pace. But that is the idea and it works. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have crafted another brilliant score, accompanying the story with subtle strength.

I felt the screenplay did spend a little too much time marred in backstory, especially on Renner, Sheridan is detailed as always. The emotional reveal Renner’s Lambert has with Scarlet Witch, I mean Olsen’s Banner, was uncomfortable and didn’t work from Renner. It was bordering on cliched and slowed the movie’s pace down, I just thought it was unnecessary. I thoroughly expected Lambert’s backstory quite a few scenes earlier coming from Ben (Greene), there were quite a few opportunities for that.


Wind River Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner image
Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye



The cast is brilliant as always. Renner can do no wrong, he just has to stand there and do little and he is effective, but he did falter at the emotional reveal mentioned. But he is easily forgiven because he is Renner and we all love him. Olsen is likewise brilliant as a green FBI agent so far out of her comfort zone. I loved her onscreen and it was great seeing an AVENGERS reunion. Graham Green is solid as always, I love this guy in everything, he provides some rare dry comic relief but also a wise support. I would have liked to have seen more from Gil Birmingham, Jeff Bridge’s partner in HELL OR HIGH WATER. He has a powerful smaller part in WIND RIVER. There are also quite a few other smaller parts in the movie that are all well acted.


Wind River Gil Birmingham and Jeremy Renner image
Gil Birmingham and Jeremy Renner



WIND RIVER is the weakest screenplay from Taylor Sheridan’s pen but it is still one of the best thrillers of 2017 and a superb directorial debut. Renner and Olsen are as marvellous as the cinematography, environment, score and harsh realism of the movie. If you love European crime TV shows or the harsh desolation of a middle American modern day frontier then this is for you!




With special thanks to ICON Films to win the WIND RIVER PRIZE PACK consisting of 1x double pass to see the movie plus the following movies on DVD (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, THE CAPTIVE, EDGE OF DARKNESS, ONCE WERE WARRIORS, CRASH, THE GREY) you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage). Further to this you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following question/s:

What is your favourite icebound thriller movie? And why!!


If you do not have social media then you can still enter, leave your entry below in the comments and then email me at telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

This is a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges. 

The prizes will be drawn on or after Monday 7th August so enter this one quick. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this  is only available to Australian residents.




 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


Privacy Preference Center