Wind River

GoMovieReviews Rating:

MA 15+Wind River

Directed and Written by: Taylor Sheridan

Produced by: Elizabeth A. Bell, Peter Berg, Matthew George, Basil Iwanyk, Wayne L. Rogers

Music by: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Kelsey Asbille, Julia Jones, Teo Briones, Apesanahkwat and Graham Greene.

“While missing person statistics are compiled for every other demographic, none exist for Native American women. No one knows how many are missing.”

After writing the screenplay for the two highly regarded crime/thrillers, Sicario (2015) – which I gave a 5/5, and, Hell or High Water (2016), Taylor Sheridan has returned as writer and as director (debut) of the crime/mystery, Wind River.

Set in the cold and snowy wasteland of Wyoming, hunter for US Fish and Wildlife, Cory Lambert (Jeremey Renner) is called out to the Wind River Reservation to track a lion after his ex-father-in-law discovers a cow killed on his land.

While tracking the lion, Cory finds a teenage girl dead in the snow.

The Sheriff (Graham Greene) calls in the FBI where Jan Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) turns up ill-prepared for the below freezing conditions and violence that lurks under Wind River’s icy surface.  She soon discovers in this environment, you either survive or die.

Based on actual events, Wind River is a tragedy beautifully told.Wind River

There’s a poetry in the words spoken and insight into the isolation of living amongst the wolves and sheep, mountains, lions; the predators stalking the prey – the contrast of the outsider, the FBI agent, showing just how different life is out on the snow.

I was surprised at the casting of Elizabeth Olsen (the younger sister of the Olsen twins, previously starring in films such as the witch in, Captain America: Civil War (2016) and receiving critical acclaim for her role in, Martha Mercy May Marlene (2011).  Her role as Jane Banner (the FBI agent) is such a mature, complicated character.  The expression and restraint shows a real depth here, the character believable as law enforcement while also human, understanding she’s out of her depth and smart enough to enlist the help of local hunter, Cory Lambert.Wind River

Jeremy Renner wears the quiet wisdom of Cory well – his ability to show humility captures the essence of this hunter, an acceptance of the inevitable as the cold slowly freezes the land leaving hearts full of sadness.

Since starring in, The Bourne Legacy (2012), Renner has been used in roles with a far calmer demeanor, in my view, stepping up in his role as Ian Donnelly in, Arrival (2016) and again here as Cory.

First time director Taylor Sheridan is to be commended in his success in making the most of the cast and talent.

From the beginning, I felt Taylor had put together a strong film, where each moment, word and gesture show more than just the surface.

Wind River is a film about crime but it’s also about people and place.

There’s a rawness to surviving the land that lends to a contemplation of spirit and wisdom creating a poetry of emotion because the characters are forced to rise above the tragedy, to embrace the sadness to survive.

Taylor has a true talent in showing the tragedy in the fight for survival while also showing the beauty of the reality.  And I continue to admire and congratulate his work.

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GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: MArrival

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Screenplay by: Eric Heisserer

Based on the story: “Story of Your Life” written by Ted Chiang

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg.

Without giving too much away, Arrival is a unique movie experience where language is viewed as more than communication; where learning a different language changes our neural pathways to change the way we see, feel and think.

Director, Denis Villeneuve has given his Midas touch to a film that really could have fallen flat.

With the space ships, or Shells in the sky used as the only marketing tool,  I admit, I was worried.

But Arrival had a unique flavour that bent the mind in unexpected ways.

Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a linguist contracted by the US government to attempt communication and translation of alien language.  With 12 Shells hovering over cities across the globe, each country attempts to figure out the purpose of the aliens’ visit.

I know, I know, not another alien movie.  But Arrival isn’t just an alien film.  The word, ‘alien’ was used once with Dr. Banks asking, ‘am I the only one using this word?’

And that gives you an idea of the beauty of this film.  There was a distinct lack of drivel.

I love how Villeneuve can get you right up with the characters, to feel the tension and emotion.

Anxiety is shown so well in this film.  And Amy Adams is to be commended.  Her strength, intelligence and femininity shone – Denis making the most of Amy’s blue-eyed goodness.  The insight Villeneuve has managed to show of Dr. Bank’s character is astounding.  If only for this aspect, I enjoyed the film.  Then combine the incredible story, soundtrack and pace with that extra flavour that makes the characters so believable, you’ve got a winning film.

The real surprise for me was Jeremy Renner as the physicist, Ian Donnelly.  I admit I’m not a fan of Renner.  He has played so many cringe worthy characters, I shudder to think.  But in the role of Ian Donnelly, and handled with the skill of Villeneuve, this quiet, thoughtful character resonated well as a support to Dr. Louise Banks.

This isn’t an action film, nor your typical sci-fi, and Arrival isn’t scary.  But the subtleties and suspense of the story kept me completely absorbed.

Arrival isn’t so much an alien film as an exploration into language and how it affects our view of the world.

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Captain America: Civil War

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe RussoCaptain America Civil War

Screenplay by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Based on: Captain America by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt; Daniel Brühl.

With no expectation going in, I was pleasantly surprised by gutsy action and a well-thought out storyline.  And yes, I’m just going to say it, Captain America: Civil War was heart-warming.

To be honest, the Captain America character has never appealed to me.  As Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) says, ‘Sometimes, I just want to punch you in your perfect teeth’.

However, the film celebrates difference of opinion and differing values and cultures and that’s a definite positive of this film.

Civil War is about friendship and the difficulty in accepting differences between friends.  Who’s to say they’re right and who is wrong?  People have their reasons whether it be loyalty, the idea of doing the right thing, of looking after the little guy; and then there’s the bad manipulating the good.

The huge number of strong characters could have led to confusion, but the well-paced storyline gave every character their point and time in the spotlight.

I liked the addition of the cat-man, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).  And the threat of cheesiness was nicely averted with humour; the characters able to make fun of themselves and each other, particularly Iron Man and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) – just hilarious!

I admit I was a little confused at times regarding the history of the characters and how they came to fight together, which means I need to go back and re-watch some of the previous films.  And that’s a lot of watching.  Civil War is the third in the series of Captain America.  And then you have Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).  Plus there’s all the Iron Man series and of course the films casting all the other characters…  So there wasn’t really anything new here, either.

But when I find I’m entertained at the beginning, the middle and the end, I say that’s a good movie.