GUEST STAR MOVIE REVIEW – Wind River by Zak Alvarez

31 Jul

wind_river_ver2_xlgHello and thanks for taking a moment to read this review of ‘Wind River” written and directed by Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water) and starring Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olson, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, Apesanahkwat, and others.

Wind River starts Friday August 4th and is rated R. Go see it if you can.  I, Zak Flying Around, stake my personal esteem in support of the high quality of this particular production.

I have been on the Wind River Reservation, the home of the once powerful Arapaho tribe of the Great Plains, and also the home of an equally proud band of the Shoshone Nation.

The reservation land is depicted accurately in the sense that it is exceedingly beautiful and vast. Of all the reservation lands in the Indian Country, Wind River has been described as being the most beautiful. I am glad that the cinematography and photography made sure to back up that claim.

I recall seeing an upside down US flag and defiant Native American frill flying together on a flagpole.  The flagpole is briefly shown in the beginning of the film, true to my memory, to which I say, “Right on. I had gone to the Wind River reservation near Lander, Wyoming in 2011, I had downhill skied all winter in Montana, Washington,Oregon, California Utah and Idaho. Lucky me. I wanted to speak to someone at the tribe to ask how they were coming along in tentative plans to possibly build a ski lift on one of their mountains. It would be a great little enterprise, and I wanted to somehow support the idea. I spent a day there and then headed to Utah (in a snowstorm system), and eventually, I went back home to California.I had a great time!

The second scene of the film captures the viewers’ attention well. It is a mountain valley in the winter. The sun is just up. Coyotes in heavy fur coats stalk a group of sheep standing vulnerable and unprotected. Then a powerful rifle shot occurs and a shocked coyote plops over dead. A camouflaged dressed hunter aims for another, but decides to let it run away. Interestingly, he is a US Fish and Game hunter.  What else is worth mentioning it without blowing it for you?

There is a rather awesome display of semi crazy snowmobiling several times which locals consider getting around in snow terrain, which I know to be the case in reality. Cowboy tough awesome, uh huh.  There are also some brand new trucks barreling everywhere, lots of guns, shooting, tough guy gear n’ shit. In fact, a few parts looked like a commercial for tough pickups and snow machines.

So for the rural fellows and fans of “Muricka, Come Get Some“, the film makers have got that covered.

Wind River is composed of great acting by the whole cast, seriously. There is no reason to get up and go to use restroom as the film is no more than 90 minutes long.  I saw no one in the industry professionals get up to use the bathroom at this screening except for my host Cary W. Coatney (hey, I got an important call from my sister – so I had to take it!) I personally had to go, but I couldn’t leave. I was too busy watching the movie. It’s a thriller.

To continue with the review.

A young native woman is running across a field of snow. It’s dark and its’ furring. She is so very cold, injured, bleeding, and perilously underdressed and it looks like she has no shoes! She is crying, weeping, fleeing from something or someone. How did she get in a mountain meadow in the Rocky Mountain wilderness in the middle of the winter, no houses in sight? She falls, gets up, runs and then falls down again. The cold and the snow is relentless and we hope she will be saved. She must not stop or she will DIE!

I recall the Louise Erdrich novel “Love Medicine” tragically begins this way too. This well written and well executed film is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on you, the viewer.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Zak Flying Around.

Zak Alvarez (who is a self-professed Native American spiritual stone mover) and I caught Taylor Sheridan’s new magnum cinematic opus a week ago at my employer’s theater screening. The film as been making the film fest rounds where it premiered at the Park City Film Festival precisely where the film was shot. Thus far, it had received a record eight minute long-standing ovation at the most recent Cannes. Zak was so moved by the movie’s Native American authenticity that he said he was willing to write a review about it. So I asked him, since he said the film on my dime, or rather my employee identification card, would be willing to write a version for it for my blog, since I’ve never really had a movie review posted on my blog before.

Chris Pine was originally slated for the lead role but had to drop out due to commitments to Wonder Woman and Elizabeth Olson actually suffered snowblindness during the film’s forty day shoot.

The movie, who premise is solving a murder that occurs on an Native American Indian reservation is so far a brightly lit gem in the director/writer’s Sheridan’s seedy exploration into the dark underbelly of man’s personal darkness first touched upon in Sicario and next in Hell or High Water. No doubt, once Oscar time comes around, the academy will most likely take a hard look into Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olson’s mesmerizing performances as well as Graham Greene’s supporting role much like they did for Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water.

The movie has one hell of a wicked ending and is highly recommended if you’re looking for a thought-provoking modestly budgeted riveting mystery.

If Zak hadn’t had the Wind River review ready, I was going to go with a profile on once upon a time Asia song writer John Payne who came to perform a show near me recently. I will be posting that next week.

 

 

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