Friday, September 1, 2017

Wind River: Monday, August 28 2017

Wind River (2017) is an American murder mystery, thriller film. It is written and directed by Taylor Sheridan (47), who says he likes to entertain his audience with a straightforward story and strong characters. He has won awards for his screenwriting, and that is obvious in this film. His firm grip on direction is also evident. He keeps his audience riveted to the screen. My Monday Film Group thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Sheridan has achieved his stated goal, using the recipe for success with the audience.

Jeremy Renner plays Cory Lambert, a US Fish and Wildlife tracker, and Elizabeth Olsen stars as Jane Banner, an FBI agent. Both have star quality and add greatly to the film. The acting is of a high quality, and the characters are believable. I liked them and found them attractive. I did wonder if the FBI really would send a lone woman agent to deal with a possible rape and murder on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. However, this salute to the present-day young women certainly demonstrated that they can handle a gun and shoot people equally as well as some men, and better than most. I really liked that justice is done, and is seen to be done. All the criminals are killed. No extra cost to the taxpayers. The most horrible criminal comes to a very nasty, and appropriate, end. Very satisfying!

Gil Birmingham
Tantoo Cardinal played Alice Crowheart, and another Canadian actor, Graham Greene played Ben, the Tribal Police Chief. Both were excellent, as were all the others in the cast. I particularly liked Gil Birmingham as Martin Hanson. He has such a beautiful face. The beautiful Kelsey Chow was excellent as Natalie Hanson.

Director, Taylor Sheridan
The film ends with a title card announcing that the FBI doesn't have statistics on missing native women, whose numbers are unknown. This made me realise that the film had been carrying a message about the issue around how many aboriginal women go missing and are never found. Obviously, this is of concern to director Taylor Sheridan and those others involved in making this thought-provoking movie.

Recently, there has been a great deal of almost hysterical talk in North America about missing and murdered aboriginal women. The RCMP report on the subject of missing women in Canada, states that the majority of cases are solved, and that there is little difference in the solve rate between aboriginal and non-aboriginal women. Most are solved. From the report, based on research, most women of any ethnic origins, are murdered by their spouse, or a family member, or someone they know. It appears that it is not unusual that both parties have been drinking or using drugs and become involved in a fight. Women who work in the sex trade are at greatest risk, and it is said that the rate of murders and missing women between aboriginal and non-aboriginal is fairly similar.

This violence towards women and girls of all ethnic backgrounds is not the main problem, although it would appear that it is, and should be. Wind River Reservation is, in fact, in Wyoming, and has been troubled by crime and drug abuse. Wyoming is next door to Dakota, which has had problems with "man camps" erected by oil companies to house the workers needed on their projects. If they are situated close to an aboriginal community, the aboriginal women visit the camps to party, and earn money as sex trade workers. Some are beaten up or murdered. This is the problem that Wind River is addressing, as are all the street protests against the resource industries activities. This is why some people from aboriginal communities in Canada and the States are opposed to resource development. Many leaders of aboriginal communities, understandably, want the economic benefits that come to communities from having resource developments close by. These aboriginal leaders, the resource companies and governments are now well aware of the problems associated with the man camps. Consideration is presently being given to preventing them, if possible.

I have mixed feeling about being subjected to subliminal propaganda by what I had been led to believe is purely entertainment. Surely it would be better to make a documentary putting forward the facts of the legitimate concern? Better still, if said documentary puts forward all sides of the issue, factually, without pointing fingers. On the other hand, it has made me do some research so that now I do have a better understanding of the challenge to the resource industries.

What is very rarely mentioned by the social agitators, or the media, is that the FBI has statistics which show that many people go missing in the States: white people; black people; men; women and children. As an article in USA Today states, the smallest number is of native American women. If any cases are not reported to the police to appear in statistics, whose fault is that? This makes me wonder who is funding the agitation against the resource industries?

In spite of those misgivings, as pure entertainment, this is satisfying film. But I wonder who put up the money to make it?

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