January may be grey and cold, but it brings a big treat for fans of gripping drama as the acclaimed Wind River premieres on Virgin Movies
Rent Wind River on Virgin Movies from 22 January. Cert 15. Also available in HD
One of 2017’s most intense, beautifully paced thrillers, Wind River is fresh from the big screen and riding a wave of awards buzz. And while it may be set in the American West rather than anywhere in Scandi-land, there’s enough deep snow and nail-biting tension to make this feel like the very best kind of must-watch Nordic noir.
The film stars Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Cory Lambert, a US Fish and Wildlife Service tracker who discovers a corpse while hunting down a wildcat through deep snow in the depths of the Wyoming winter. The victim comes from the local Native American reservation, a close-knit community that’s wary of outsiders – outsiders like newly minted FBI agent Jane Banner (Renner’s fellow Avenger Elizabeth Olsen), who is sent in alone to investigate the case.
The problem is that the young woman was chased to her death through the snow, so there’s no murder weapon, no obvious wound and no forensic evidence to allow the pathologist to designate it a murder. This means that Jane can't call for a full, more experienced investigation team. So it's up to the unlikely pair of Cory and Jane to find the killer: a man with local knowledge, but no police training, and a rookie agent who’s badly out of her depth. He’s haunted by a tragedy in his past, and while she’s tougher than she looks, that’s no guarantee that she’ll be tough enough.
As if this intriguing premise and power duo weren’t enough, Taylor Sheridan – the man who wrote the Oscar-nominated Sicario and Hell Or High Water – is both screenwriter and director this time. Once again, he focuses on a young female agent who’s out of her depth, and once again he takes elements of classic Westerns to tell a modern story. To round out his cast he chose Native American greats like Gil Birmingham (Twilight) and Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves) to ensure a portrayal of reservation life that’s far more thoughtful and nuanced than you might have seen before.
The film won praise at Sundance and a prize for Sheridan at the Cannes Film Festival, but it’s no dry, dusty piece of awards bait. This is a vital, gripping thriller, where the question is not just whodunit but what’s been done and why, all under a thick blanket of snow that threatens to bury the evidence forever. And now is the perfect time to watch it, because Wind River might make the British winter feel pretty warm by comparison.
Rent Wind River on Virgin Movies from 22 January. Also available in HD. Cert 15
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