Vincent's Views

Home » Posts tagged 'Elizabeth Olson'

Tag Archives: Elizabeth Olson

Wind River


Taylor Sheridan is a very fine writer. His previous works Sicario and Hell Or High Water beautifully captured the drama of people caught between social and historical developments. Much the same is true of Wind River, the third in Sheridan’s loose ‘border trilogy’. What the earlier films also had were very fine directors, and Sheridan proves himself less accomplished in this respect as Wind River lacks the enveloping dread that Denis Villeneuve brought to Sicario and the muscular doggedness that David MacKenzie delivered with Hell Or High Water. Sheridan handles his Native American reservation-set thriller solidly but unimaginatively, sometimes overusing dialogue to express the marginalisation and discrimination suffered by one of America’s most underprivileged demographics. Much of this rumination is delivered by Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a hunter and tracker with a tangential connection to the inhabitants of the Wind River reservation. After finding the body of a teenage girl in the snow, Cory assists investigating FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen). The subsequent investigation between these mismatched partners is functional, if problematic as it foregrounds white characters in a story ostensibly concerned with Native Americans. Sheridan does not explore the social tensions in much depth, again resorting to telling rather than showing, as well as a rather clumsy flashback that depicts escalating events that are disturbing if rather rushed. However, when the film relies on its visuals, it succeeds admirably, as Sheridan delivers set pieces that are gripping and even shocking in their suddenness, expressing the life or death urgency of the environment. And it is in the environment that Wind River attains heights as lofty as the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains (Utah standing in for Wyoming). Cinematographer Ben Richardson lenses the landscape with awe inspiring scale, the expanses of snow and ice rendered in a splendour that leave the viewer chilled to the soul. Wind River may not offer much food for thought, but it certainly offers a feast for the eyes.





Any reboot/relaunch/remake/adaptation faces the triple-horned (or headed) dilemma of pleasing existing fans, introducing itself to new audiences and declaring its own identity. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla achieves this in style by paying homage to Toho Studios’ Godzilla series, declaring its own identity, and exceeding expectations for a movie that centres on a huge monster stomping around a city. Some have complained that the titular character receives precious little screentime, but this seems churlish as the main purpose of Godzilla in any film is to smash things, be they cities or other monsters. By minimising Godzilla’s presence to his interaction with other monsters, Edwards not only focuses attention on the human characters but also creates a familiarity between them (us) and the giant, radioactive reptile. In doing so, the director echoes his debut, Monsters, which displayed a curious communion between its human and non-human characters. This suggests a common feature in Edwards’ cinema, drawing parallels between humans and nature. It will be interesting to see if Edwards continues this conceit in his future work, such as a sequel to Godzilla and perhaps in a galaxy far, far away