WYOMING – The movie everyone is already talking about has remote ties to Wyoming. Wind River will be in local theaters when it opens August 4. But just how much of this movie is ‘Wyoming’ and how will it portray our state? Was it even shot here?
From its world premiere in Park City, Utah at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to the lengthy 8-minute standing ovation at Cannes, this film has been steadily gaining traction with critics leading to its nationwide opening next weekend. It is currently trending on Rotten Tomatoes with an 87% approval rating.
Jeremy Renner (the film originally had Chris Pine before he backed out) stars as Cory Lambert, an employee of a fictional Wyoming Fish and Wildlife. His job is to kill the animals who prey on local livestock and his jurisdiction includes a Native American Reservation. Renner has learned to survive and thrive in the wintry, rugged mountains of Wyoming and he will be called upon to help rookie FBI agent Jane Benner (played by Elizabeth Olsen) track down a rapist and murderer.
The movie is classified as a modern western set in snow. And lots of it. Preferring not to use CG and unable to afford making snow on the film’s limited budget, screenwriter/director Taylor Sheridan, who now lives part-time in Wyoming and Utah, chose Park City as the shoot’s location. Most, if not all, of the picture was shot there in winter. In fact, true to the script, Olsen actually experienced snow-blindness while shooting the film.
Other than borrowing the name of an Indian Reservation in the state and portraying the reverence of a Wyoming winter, it’s not clear how ‘Wyoming’ this movie is. A tagline of the film states: “This ain’t a land of backup. This is the land of ‘on your own.’”
And Renner’s best line: “Luck don’t live out here.”
Finally, one movie critic, Robbie Collin of the UK’s Daily Telegraph wrote, “Wind River is a film about this landscape’s hard indifference towards all who trudge across it…”
Sounds about right.