Tuesday, August 22, 2017
There are only a few German ladies who can be called Film Divas. Margot Hielscher was one of them. She began as a costume designer in the pre-World War II period and was discovered by a director and immediately signed to "The Heart of the Queen" (1940). In the Second World War she was one of the most popular German actresses, playing in 60 films and about 200 TV productions. Her passion for music was discovered by the Berlin woman in the post-war period, when she repeatedly presented singing inserts for American soldiers. In 1957 and 58 Margot Hielscher represented the FRG at the Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne - the present Eurovision Song Contest - where she finished 4th and 7th. The red-haired talent was also as a presenter. In the 1960s, she moderated her own TV program "Visiting Margot Hielscher", where she welcomed over 700 celebrities. Margot appeared in only one Euro-western: “Johnny Saves Nebrador” (1953) as Marina starring Hans Albers.
'Wind River' review: Jeremy Renner anchors gritty and brilliant modern Western
By John Serba | firstname.lastname@example.org
Which is more cruel, human nature or the natural world? In the opening scenes of “Wind River,” a teenage Native American girl, bloodied and barefoot, runs across a snowy slab of Wyoming tundra, a full moon blaring above the mountain. Her pursuer isn’t visible. She stumbles.
The official cause of death is pulmonary trauma – she inhaled negative-20-degree air in huge gulps, her lungs burst, and she drowned in her own blood. Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) shares this fact with FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), who nevertheless declares the death a homicide. What else could she do, after eyeing the contusion on the girl’s forehead and the blood stains on her inner thighs?
Jeremy Renner and Gil Birmingham in "Wind River." (Fred Hayes | Photo provided to MLive.com by The Weinstein Company)
Such is the setup for one hell of a movie, the directorial debut of “Hell or High Water” and “Sicario” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, who continues to exhibit his gift for penning superlative dialogue. His screenplay shrewdly blends the best elements of several genres: Western, crime-drama, procedural, tragedy, revenge thriller, noir.
The film draws from the Coen Brothers – have you seen a film set in a frigid, snowy American landscape in the last 20 years and not thought of “Fargo”? – “The Silence of the Lambs,” and Clint Eastwood’s directorial work, as well as the writings of Cormac McCarthy and Jack London. And the last time I checked, that was all extraordinary stuff, gritty and vigorous, works of their time, and timeless now.
Cory wears big boots and layered Carhartts, a stained Stetson resting on his ears. He’s a professional hunter, a rancher, a horseman; he cradles a rifle in the crooks of his elbows, and has a revolver on his belt. OK, I’ll say it: he’s a cowboy. When he’s introduced to us, the camera acts as his rifle scope, and he guns down two wolves terrorizing a herd of sheep. He zooms over the drifts and through the pines on a snowmobile. He’s a wildlife officer, and a cynic might say that means he knows people well.
He’s called to the Wind River reservation to track a mountain lion and her two cubs, who have been preying on local cattle. He studies the tracks in the snow. “Mama just got her family killed,” he says, not cavalier in tone, and not mournful, but spoken like a man with a job to do. Five miles up the mountain, he spots the body, and instinctively inhales a gasp of that frigid air when he recognizes her face.
Hugh Dillon, Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene in "Wind River." (Fred Hayes | Photo provided to MLive.com by The Weinstein Company)
The reservation police, led by Ben (Graham Greene), are called in, and then the feds. Jane arrives unprepared, blinded by a whiteout blizzard and wearing a spring jacket. Ben and the girl’s grieving father, Martin (Gil Birmingham), see this greenhorn agent as yet another slight against their frequently marginalized and neglected people.
There’s more than a little bit of Clarice Starling in Jane, who fights through the skepticism with competence and passion. She has a lousy first move, a tendency to open an interview with a blunt, insensitive question. But she knows the chess game well, and prudently disregards technicalities and procedure in pursuit of the truth: “I’m just trying to do the right thing,” she plaintively asserts.
She’s also smart enough to hire Cory as a consultant. He’s a white cowboy living among the Indians, and knows the mountain better than anyone. His ex-wife Wilma (Julia Jones) and pre-teen son Casey (Teo Briones) are of Arapaho blood, and tied to the reservation’s poverty and political enmity. There’s an unspoken what-happened sense of discord between Cory and Wilma, and his new gig cuts close to the bone. An exchange with the dead girl’s father, Martin (Gil Birmingham), pushes Cory’s role beyond guide to tracker, then justice seeker.
The dramatic revelations of “Wind River” are strong, as are its sudden bursts of violence. Both are upsetting, the two elements drawn together for a cathartic third act rife with gunfire and tension, leaving you wrung out like a dishrag.
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 4)
Wind River – Canadian title
Wind River – U.K. title
Wind River – U.S.A. title
Terra Selvagem – Brazilian title
Στα ίχνη του ανέμου – Greek title
Wind River - Gyilkos nyomon – Hungarian title
Veju upe – Lithuanian title
Ветреная река – Russian title
Вiтряна рiка – Ukrainian title
Wind River – English title
A 2016 British, Canadian, U.S.A. French co-production [Ingenious Media (London), US Acacia
Filmed Entertainment, Film 44, Savvy Media Holdings, Star Thrower Entertainment,
Synergics Films, Thunder Road Pictures, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, Voltage Pictures
(USA), Wild Bunch (France)]
Producers: Braden Aftergood, Nik Bower, Brahim Chioua, Jonathan Deckter, Babak Eftekhari,
Jonathan Fuhrman, David C. Glasser, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones, Erica Lee, Agnes
Mentré (Agnès Mentre), Deepak Nayar, Joni Sighvatsson (Sigurjon Sighvatsson), Christopher
H. Warner, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Tim White, Trevor White, Elizabeth A. Bell,
Peter Berg, Matthew George, Basil Iwanyk, Wayne Rogers, Babak Eftekhari
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Story: Taylor Sheridan
Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan
Cinematography: Taylor Sheridan [color]
Music: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
Running time: 107 minutes
Story: An FBI agent teams up with a tracker after an American Indian girl is found dead in a Native American reservation.
Natalie – Kelsey Asbille
Cory Lambert – Jeremy Renner
Wilma – Julia Jones
Casey – Teo Briones
Dan Crowheart – Apesanahkwat
Ben – Graham Greene
Jane Banner – Elizabeth Olsen
Alice Crowheart – Tantoo Cardinal
Dr. Whitehurst – Eric Lange
Martin – Gil Birmingham
Annie – Althea Sam
Sam Littlefeather – Tokala Clifford
Chip – Martin Sensmeier
Frank – Tyler Laracca
BIA Officers – Shayne Joel Cullen, Dallin Tusieseina, David Cardona
Carl – Austin R. Grant
Evan – Ian Bohen
Curtis – Hugh Dillon
Dillon – Matthew Del Negro
Pete Mickens – James Jordan
Contractors – Gabe Casdorph, Mason D. Davis, Chris Romrell
Matt – Jon Bernthal
Tim – Blake Robbins
Dale – Norman Lehnert
Coroner – Ian Roylance
Coroner’s assistants – Dana Anquoe, Steven Jay Brown
Native American Police Officer – Duy Beck
Teacher – Teresa Duran-Norvick
Classmate – Gus Sheridan
Street Patron – Devin Hansen
Ingrid – Tara Karsian
Bureau of Land Management Administrator – Chad Wright
Stunt coordinator: Wade Allen
Stunts: Kelly Bellini, Ethan Blackham, Eliza Coleman, Whitney Coleman, Brando Cornell, Kevin Derr, Peter Epstein, Randy Haynie, Joshua Lamboy, Braxton McAllister, Jim Palmer, Mark Riccardi, Chris Romrell, Tim Soergel, Chad Wright
In “Wind River,” we see a world where fathers have already lost their daughters. Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a hunter and tracker whose daughter died three years prior to the film’s action, tells a friend, whose daughter’s murder serves as the central event of the film, that you can’t try to escape the suffering, you just have to live with it. But that’s not what he does.
Cory Lambert uses violent vengeance to cope with his pain. He tries to avenge his daughter’s death — an unsolvable mystery — by exacting punishment on this other girl’s killer(s). That he would do so is taken as a given. “I’m a hunter,” he tells his mourning friend.
Lambert does so alongside a small group of reservation policemen and a by-the-books cub FBI agent named Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen). Banner plays a similar role to the one Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) played in “Sicario.” She exists to put a leash on wolves, to take the Wild out of the West. Meanwhile, Sheridan introduces Corey Lambert by showing him sniping literal wolves as they prey on sheep. The metaphor is carried over from “Sicario,” a call-back to Alejandro telling Kate that she “should move to a small town, somewhere the rule of law still exists” because “You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now.”