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. "Wind River"

You've seen his work on TV ("Sons of Anarchy," "Yellowstone") and feature film ("Sicario," "Hell or High Water,) and now, for his first as feature writer-director, he leaves little doubt about the rich psychological depth he aims to join to cases of criminality and mystery that spark with realism and life-threatening violence. With "Wind River" as his directorial debut, Taylor Sheridan is leaving little doubt his talent puts him on a glide path to become Hollywood's next Ridley Scott, one of many fine targets for a superior body of work.

The setting here is Wyoming, where the weather is harsh and no friend of the weak or the injured. All the more so on the non-forgiving Wind River indian reservation when the snow comes. Which are the circumstances when laconic tracker/guide Cory Lambert finds a body. A woman. A rape victim. Leading to the arrival of FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) for the investigation that will stir up savage sociopathic forces that put all lawmen's lives at risk.

Most gripping for me was Renner's protective force as he proves his caliber and capabilities with a minimum of words and a complete absence of self-praise. He is, again, the quiet macho man with solid self-assurance and decency -- the qualities he put to such good use in 'The Hurt Locker," but with the benefit of a little age and experience since making that masterpiece. It's this kind of character that brings out the best he has and Sheridan was brilliant in perceiving that plausible tests of masculinity is Renner's meat.

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                                                                              ~~  Jules Brenner  


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