Wind River

Everything is perfect forever

Uses cliché as an opportunity.
Reported on 26th of September, 2017

Having just written another script being filmed as we speak, I know now I have no idea what makes a good movie. Something beautiful and perfect can fall apart when made, just as a mess can be redeemed by its unexpected humanity. Or by inserting the part where Jackie Chan does all his stunts and occasionally gets hit in the ass by an unplanned lumber drop.

Wind River

12 September 2017 @ The Gaumont Parnasse

$21.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

§  §  §


Unlike mother! I had low hopes for Wind River, the directorial debut of Mr. Taylor Sheridan. Mr. Sheridan had written the unpleasant and therefore highly praised Hell or High Water and the now we all know it’s not very good, but remember I told you so at the time Sicario. Wind River is, I think, the best film of the year so far: 2017’s Green Room. You should see it.

There are, for a chance of pace, ethical characters at the forefront, people who are trying to do right in the face of what seems like a horrific crime. There are a number of well-observed details, and well-turned phrases to go along with them. It is written by someone who cares and that shows. It’s a mystery without the traditional Dick Wolf yeah, but it maybe could be him fakery. The story goes where the characters do.

The children, instead of being an excuse to do rob banks and kill people who also have kids, are either believable or awesome, or mourned.

Seeing a film in VO at 9:15 is seemingly fantastic, but then you forget: the chocolateries aren’t open yet! So, what I did was bought the chocolate the night before, ate them, and then complained that they should be open earlier. To you. Right now.

I want to spend a little time with this, because I think there’s often a tendency for scripts to lazily “give ’em a dead kid so we don’t have make to ’em into a real character”, and this film could have easily been been that.

But instead, Mr. Sheridan uses this cliché as an opportunity. He’s interested in mourning, not in giving the audience a shortcut to feel for the characters. Like the mountain world and the reservation, it’s just something he feels for about and writes with passion towards.

After liking it, I want to know why. No surprise there. I had forgotten at this point that I don’t know how to make a good movie. Since I’m an auteur of The Author Theory, I believe in scripts. Why, having written Hell or High Water and Sicario, was Wind River such a quantum leap? I could see the research he had put into the previous two, but the lack of ethics in the former, and lack basic story sense in the latter begged the question: why weren’t they good?

Wind River has so few misteps, so many scenes that don’t go where they’re supposed to and yet feel natural. The easy explanation is the one I also don’t like: he was the director. And maybe there’s some truth to that, less along the lines of auteurship than he was allowed to protect the material as a director, and the other ones failed without stewardship. But I don’t know. Everything’s a mistake, and it’s enough that this was a happy one.

The Take

As usual, I’m not giving away much in the vain hopes that you’ll see it. Remember, not a horror. Scott says it’s okay. Nevertheless: ‘With a whimper’. It’s a line that’ll stick with you.
Another thing I liked was not explaining. As Mr. Jeremy Renner snowshoes through the Montana snow, he carries his rifle across his two arms like an oversized log. Something this specific had a reason, and I loved that the character knew and the film didn’t feel obliged to tell me.
The rest
Total Profits
The use of a song that contains spoken rather than sung words. It really takes you out, and so we’ll chalk it up to the disadvantages of protecting your material.
Total Losses


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