On the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a tracker and hunter of threatening wildlife on the reservation, protecting the people from dangerous animals. Cory finds the corpse of a teenage girl when patrolling the reservation. Young FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent in to investigate. New, inexperienced, and idealistic, Jane is quickly in over her head trying to solve the murder while adjusting to the culture shift on an Indian reservation. Cory knows the land and the people of Wind River, and Jane enlists his help. To say more would start to unpack the layers of this tense and methodical search for the killer.
Having never been on an Indian reservation, this movie is a fascinating look at a different culture and the struggles a person can have trying to reconcile those differences. Jane may have the badge and the authority off the reservation, but it quickly becomes clear things work a little differently in Wind River. Without explosions or grand action set pieces, Wind River is still gripping as it methodically tracks clues and alternates between small scale but intense action scenarios and strong character moments. This is a dark movie, but if you can endure seeing some of the worst in certain people, you are rewarded by the lengths some people are willing to go to do the right thing for others. This is a movie about loss, justice, and vengeance, but I left it feeling mostly encouraged by the resilience of the human soul.