Written By Ashley Matthews
Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, Wind River (released in 2017) is a powerfully pungent film of loss, and the lives of those overlooked even in our own backyard. “Winner of Best Director” from the Cannes Festival, this stoically dramatic film, centers on a report of a missing Native American woman in the snowy Indian lands of a Wyoming reservation. Not only is the body discovered, but with each new clue comes the realization that the depravity of the situation is far greater than what meets the eye.
The number of instances and accounts, both in real life and represented in this film, of missing Native American women is not only unknown, but unaccounted for-seeing as our own administration and law enforcement have no means implemented to account for them at this time. With a real life stressor, despite the film being fictional, Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olson (along with a tumultuously gifted cast) sheds a spotlight on the travesty that occurs in the here and now.
With stats, provided by the Indian Law Resource Center and the Not Invisible Act of 2019, it’s been revealed that indigenous native women are murdered ten times the national average along with the fact that it happens to also be the third leading cause of death between those very same women. This discovery is not only appalling but a detriment so drastic that it must be brought to justice. This film in its representation does just that.
Cory Lambert (portrayed by Renner) is a full-fledged game tracker in the midst of the Wyoming mountains. While out patrolling one day, he comes across prints in the snow that eventually lead him to the body of an 18-year-old Native American woman. The victim, through the summation of the autopsy report, was raped, thus summoning FBI agent Jane Banner (portrayed by Olsen). Banner arrives to assist in the investigation alongside the understaffed Indian police department.
As the film evolves, viewers discover that Lambert too has a haunting past that runs parallel to the violent acts that he finds himself in the midst of. The shouts of the helpless, the voices of the unheard, the sorrow of the forgotten are the thematic notes that chime throughout the film.
Wind River takes a hold of the viewer and enthralls them in the deafening circumstances of the Native American population and suspends you into a heartbreaking scenario that all too well, hits close to home. Wind River is a must see.