Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Wind River


A young Arapaho woman is found almost naked, frozen solid, on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Murders on the res are investigated not only by tribal police, but by the FBI. Usually in stories like this, the FBI agent is arrogant and expects everyone to kowtow, but this one, played by Elizabeth Olsen, realizes she doesn’t know the land or the people, and that she is in over her head. She doesn’t even know how to dress for a Wyoming winter. So she is quite willing to defer to the Tribal police chief, Graham Greene (the go-to guy for any Indian part), and most of all to Jeremy Renner, a Fish and Wildlife agent. His job is mainly to kill wolves and cougars that take sheep. Together they solve the murder in a startling burst of violence. One of those viscerally satisfying scenes where I’m sitting there saying “Take that, you bastard!”

SPOILER WARNING: I’m going to tell you how it ends. The girl managed to go six miles from where she was being serially raped. What killed her? The cold, sure, but I hadn’t realized that when the temperature is 40 below (F or C, it’s the same) you don’t dare run. When you start panting the lining of your lungs will freeze and rupture and you will drown in your own blood. Myself, the coldest I have ever experienced was -14 in East Lansing, and I thought I was going to freeze from the feet upward. Never again! So when Renner corners the last survivor of the rapists, he gives him the same chance the girl had. Far out in the wilderness, he makes the rapist take off his shoes and coat and points the way to town. If you can make it, you can go free. He gets not quite 100 yards before dying in agony. I loved it. This is a swell little movie, the sort that I’m glad they made it so I don’t have to go to Wyoming. Ever. I might run into Dick Cheney. Ugh!