Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review WIND RIVER, a new film directed and written by Taylor Sheridan (SICARIO, HELL OR HIGH WATER) starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.
Veteran tracker Cory Lambert (Renner) on the hunt for a trio of lions causing trouble in the Wind River reservation discovers the body of a Native American girl on the Wind River reservation. When the FBI sends in a green young agent, Jane Banner (Olsen) to investigate, the two team up to uncover the mystery.
Sheridan's brilliant writing shows in this realistically bleak and desolate picture of life on the reservation. The pacing is slow which only furthers the sense of despair. Renner and Olsen deliver equally adept performances aided by a supporting cast of familiar veteran Native American actors most recognizably Graham Green (DANCES WITH WOLVES) as tribal police chief Ben. It definitely feels like a film that's directed by a writer -- not that that's a bad thing. But the film could be tightened up a bit. That note aside, it's a powerful statement on Native American culture with a well crafted story that makes you care about the characters deeply long after you leave the theater. 8.5/10
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Continuing The Harold & Maudecast's movie review series, 2016 Award Season Contenders, ARRIVAL, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (PRISONERS, SICARIO) written by Eric Heisserer (WARRIOR).
Linguistics Professor, Louise Banks (Adams) and Mathematician
Ian Donnelly (Renner) reporting to US Army Colonel Weber (Whitaker) must race to find a way to communicate with Aliens who have touched down in sphere-like vessels at 12 points across the globe. When global participation breaks down leading to a potential world war, Banks takes a dangerous chance that could destroy mankind, or save it. Here's hopin for the latter.
This sci fi/alien film aint what it seems. It's far more complex and will lead you to many false conclusions or none at all as you scratch your head when it's finally revealed. Adams once again proves worthy of her many Oscar nominations. It has elements of early Ridley Scott with its somber, gritty production design mirroring some of the same textures of the original ALIEN and odes to CONTACT and even CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. Yet, this film is very much it's own story with a new vision of what we think of as Aliens.
Verdict - Justice 8.5/10 - put it on your list.
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