Thursday, August 03, 2017

Wind River

Wind River is a thriller, a western set in the snow, a detective story, a morality tale, a slice of life on an Indian reservation and an examination of life and death. It packs a huge emotional punch. It's the best film of the festival so far, but it does involve a rape which is not only unpleasant but does have terrible consequences and the contrast between how the victim's evening started and how it ended is particularly stark.

Set on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, the story revolves around Cory Lambert, a local hunter, who discovers a  young native american woman's body in the snow and Jane Banner, the FBI agent who is called in from Nevada to investigate. It's quickly  apparent that the woman was raped not long before her death. Aided only by one of the reservation police, Jane asks Cory to help investigate, and he does.

The process of solving the case showcases life on the reservation. We meet the victim's family, we see the local drug culture and we see the oil rig that her boyfriend worked on. We meet Cory's ex-wife  (also a Native American)  and we learn that they had a daughter who died in her teens. We learn about surviving  harsh weather,   a violent culture and grief.

Like a good Western, there are some impressive and shocking gun battles. And like in a good Western, the baddies get their come-uppances delivered with panache, but not with malice. The survivors are scarred emotionally and physically but they remember to be kind.  The relationship between the hunter and the FBI agent is positive and generous. And as the credits roll, we're reminded that many native american woman aren't even reported missing, let alone have the crimes committed against them investigated and punished.

Anne's rating 4.5/5 Ian's rating 3.5/5

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