A handful of innocent sheep are stalked by a coyote at the beginning of “Wind River,” an intense, somber mystery-thriller set on the Wyoming Indian reservation of that name. But the coyote is soon dispatched by a greater predator, or at least a better-armed one: Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a hunter for the fish and wildlife department whose job is to track and kill animals that track and kill.
Thus the dynamic is set for the film, a “humans are the most vicious animals” story based loosely on real events, written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, writer of “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water.” Cory, a white man with deep ties to the Indian community — he married a Native American woman and has a biracial son — is called upon for help when a young Arapaho woman, Natalie (Kelsey Asbille), is found dead in the snow, barefoot, miles from shelter, showing signs of rape. Investigating FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) and the tribal police chief (Graham Greene) agree that foul play was involved, but since Natalie’s official cause of death is exposure rather than homicide, Banner can’t immediately summon additional FBI resources, and the tribal police are understaffed.
[Continue reading at Crooked Marquee.]
B+ (1 hr., 47 min.; )