By Travis J. Klemann
An experienced hunter and a rookie FBI agent work together to unravel events which lead to a teenager's death during Wyoming's winter season. This chilling neo-Western from writer/director Taylor Sheridan leaves you informed and captivated at the conclusion of its 111 minute run time.
While surveying the Wind River Indian Reservation for mountain lions, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) discovers the frozen body of 18-year-old Natalie Hanson. The investigation is stalled until the arrival of rookie FBI special agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen).
Despite evidence of blunt force trauma and rape, the local medical examiner refuses to rule the cause of death as homicide which leaves Jane and Cory to solve the case without any additional help from the FBI. Upon notifying the parents of the deceased, they learn Natalie recently started dating an older man.
Their investigation leads them to the trailer of Natalie's brother Chip, along with his junkie friends. Shortly after, a male body is discovered nude in the frozen snow. Cory learns from Chip the name of Natalie's boyfriend, Matt, who happens to work security at the nearby oil drilling station.
Jane, Tribal Police Chief Ben Shoyo (Graham Greene) and additional officers visit the drill site where things quickly escalate with the security guards over who has jurisdictions among the reservation.
A flashback shows Natalie Hanson (Kelsey Asbille) and Matt Rayburn (Jon Bernthal) cuddling in bed before being interrupted by his security colleagues, notably a drunk and vulgar Pete Mickens (James Jordan).
Without giving too much away, Natalie escapes the trailer while Matt holds off his co-workers. Back in the present time, a firefight ensues which leads to the deaths of Ben, the other officers and most of the security guards.
Pete flees on foot but Cory catches up to him and takes him to the top of a mountain where he confesses. Rather than kill him, Cory offers Pete the same choice he gave Natalie, a barefoot escape which ends in death from pulmonary hemmorhage. Cory informs Martin the case is closed after the man responsible went out "with a whimper." At the conclusion of the film, a title card states missing-persons statistics are compiled for every other demographic while none exist for Native American women as their numbers remain unknown.
5/5 Stars - Extremely Recommended
PS: I rated this movie so high as it's a gripping tale of the harshness of life as well as informative. As a nerd, I can't help but point out the MARVEL connection since Jeremy Renner & Elizabeth Olsen play Hawkeye & Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while Jon Bernthal portrays The Punisher on the self-titled Netflix series as well as Daredevil.