Hot off the heels of the critically acclaimed and award nominated neo-western thriller Hell or High Water, screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is picking his pen back up but moving behind the camera this time to bring us Wind River. And by all indications, Sheridan could yet again bring us one of the year’s best films.
Described as a spiritual successor to both Hell or High Water and Sheridan’s previous film Sicario (for which he also served as screenwriter), Wind River tells the story of a FBI agent, played by Elizabeth Olsen, who teams up with a local tracker, played by Jeremy Renner, to investigate a murder that occurred in the Wyoming winter wilderness. Also starring in the film are Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones and Gil Birmingham.
With Hell or High Water, Sheridan’s writing was perhaps the strongest part of a thrilling film; the characters were all well written and developed, the dialogue and interactions between said characters were funny, tense and engrossing, and the story was simple and to the point, allowing the director and actors to sink their teeth into the material and vividly bring it to life. All of this earned Sheridan a truly well deserved Best Original Screenplay nomination at the Oscars this year, his work on Sicario was also praised, proving Sheridan to be one of the best writers in film at the moment. Suffice to say that with its simplistic premise and relatively small cast, Wind River will undoubtedly continue in this trend and earn Sheridan another feather in his cap.
What’s really notable about Wind River is that Sheridan now has the chance to bring his own work to life as director. Whilst it would undoubtedly be a great feeling to see your screenplay make it to the big screen in such successful fashion, it’s only natural that you would want to be the one to oversee the actual construction of a film from our script. He may not have that much experience in directing but Sheridan has surely learned a lot from the likes of David Mackenzie and Denis Villeneuve in seeing them translate his work to the silver screen. Combine these two elements and you have the perfect recipe for Sheridan to make the best of his work and not only write a sensational movie, but also direct a sensational movie.
Added to the stellar talents of Sheridan are the cast. Jeremy Renner on his day can provide a fantastic performance, as can Elizabeth Olsen, and given that the two have worked together before (in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) they should have more than satisfactory chemistry to lead the film. For Olsen, still somewhat of a newcomer, this could be a true star making turn and put her firmly on the map, her role sounds excitingly familiar to one Jodie Foster’s character from Silence of the Lambs, Renner as the grizzled veteran (not in a Hannibal Lecter vein) alongside her should make for an excellent pair. Additionally Jon Bernthal has become a hugely reliable character actor over the years having starred in the likes of The Walking Dead, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Daredevil, and Gil Birmingham was Hell or High Water‘s secret weapon, so the inclusion of these two only bolsters a strong ensemble.
Whilst a release date is yet to be confirmed, Wind River has been picked up by The Weinstein Company since its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival so expect some news in this department very soon. But do not let this put you off, once it arrives Wind River will undoubtedly be one of the year’s most exciting, visceral and best films.
Wind River, directed by Taylor Sheridan, is yet to have a confirmed release date or certificate. Check out an interview with Sheridan and stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen from this year’s Sundance Film Festival below: