Tag Archives: Jeremy Renner

tv + film by Philbert Dy

Justice is Remote in ‘Wind River’

The directorial debut of the writer of ‘Sicario’ and ‘Hell or High Water’ eschews thrills and embraces despair

NBHD movie 4 ticketsWind River follows Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a wildlife officer in rural Wyoming whose work mostly entails tracking down and hunting wild animals that prey on livestock. While tracking down some mountain lions on Native American reservation land one day, he stumbles on to a dead body. FBI Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) flies in from Las Vegas to investigate, and immediately finds herself out of her depth. She asks for Lambert’s help, using his tracking skills and his personal connection to the people on the reservation in order to get closer to the truth.Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 4.48.37 PMThere is a mystery to be solved here, but it isn’t really the main focus of this movie. It’s there to drive the plot forward, but this is mostly just a portrait of a community in despair. The action is sporadic at best, and the case does not offer the kind of twist and turns that people might expect from your average thriller. In lieu of those traditional thrills, the movie digs into the human drama on the fringes of the American dream, revealing dark, painful truths about the depth of abandonment that certain communities face every single day.Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 4.44.17 PMThis is a movie that keeps it very simple. The community, after all, isn’t very big. There are no real red herrings since there aren’t enough people around in this cold, desolate place to suspect. The case just plays out like a real case would. The investigators follow one lead into the next, before getting all the answers in one fell swoop. But again, this movie isn’t about finding the answers. It’s about looking around in this community, and showing audiences how remote justice can be. In this story, that remoteness is literal. Banner flies in from Las Vegas because she’s already the closest agent around.Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 4.49.56 PMThis is the real danger in this movie. There are criminals about, certainly, and they’re wielding weapons that might harm the characters. But many of the people in the film have already been harmed. History has driven them to this harsh, unforgiving place, and institutions continue to fail them. The horror of the crime doesn’t even seem to land, because it’s just one more terrible thing in a place drowning in misery. Within this context, it’s very difficult to extract some sort of conventional cinematic satisfaction. But the film can be very moving as it takes that long hard look into this particular injustice. Because through it all, it seems to never quite lose hope.Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 4.46.49 PMThis is the directorial debut of Taylor Sheridan, who was screenwriter on Sicario and Hell or High Water. For a first-time director, Sheridan exhibits really strong control over his work, the frames well designed, the rhythm deliberate. There may not be a whole lot of action, but the film never loses its tension. Jeremy Renner is excellent in the movie, his performance conveying his character’s sad history well before any of it is revealed. Elizabeth Olsen is tasked mainly with playing a fish out of water, but she delivers grit and intelligence every second she’s on screen.Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 4.46.01 PMWind River does revel a bit too much in ugliness. It feels like there’s more to study, more to understand about the vastness of the problem being presented in the film. In limiting itself to delivering a version of cinematic justice, the movie ends up feeling disappointingly simplistic when all is said and done. Having said that, there is inherent value in the film’s attempt to tell a story within this particular setting. It is still reckoning with ideas that are really challenging. This is a grown-up film that deserves a grown-up audience that’s looking for more than standard movie thrills.

WIND RIVER IS NOW SHOWING IN CINEMAS NATIONWIDE.
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Arrival’ Confounds Expectations

Arrival is a daring experimental work masquerading as a sci-fi blockbuster.

NBHD movie 5 ticketsArrival is about linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams), who is presented with the challenge of a lifetime when the military recruits her to try and communicate with the aliens in a spacecraft that is floating over Montana. She, along with physicist Ian Donnely (Jeremy Renner), are leading up the team trying to root out the aliens’ purpose her on Earth. These aliens have also landed in eleven other sites around the world, and not every nation seems to be taking the same approach Louise and her team. Soon, she’s racing against the clock to work out their unconventional means of communication, before more aggressive forces take hold.Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 12.12.39 PMBut this is not quite the sci-fi adventure one might be expecting. The film actually opens with a deeply emotional prologue, quickly running through the touchpoints of a deeply personal tragedy with a sense of distant wonder that recalls the work of Terence Malick. The events of this prologue end up factoring greatly into the story this movie ends up telling. Because this isn’t just a movie about first contact with aliens. This is the story about the way we communicate with each other, and what it might mean to look at the world beyond the confines of our limited perceptions.Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 12.01.51 PMThe film expands on the source material by giving it more of a geopolitical bent. It takes the time to show how the rest of the world is reacting to this strange new development in the history of the planet, and lets that grow into a narrative crisis. But again, this isn’t the real focus. The movie is mainly about Louise trying to figure out a means of communicating with these alien creatures, and dealing with the consequences of being able to share something with a creature that sees the universe in a completely different way.Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.55.57 AMIt comes down to being a study of language, which might not intuitively seem like a very good fit for cinema. But the movie manages, somehow. The dialogue ends up feeling a little clumsy at points because it has to explain so much, but it all pays off wonderfully. The movie unfurls an astounding experiment in form, playing around with the language of cinema and editing to play an interesting trick of structure. The inherent qualities of cinema prove to be an apt fit for what the movie is ultimately trying to say, its scenes compressing time in fundamentally unintuitive ways that point to something greater than a linear narrative.Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.56.14 AMScreen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.59.25 AMIn short: it’s brilliant. This film doesn’t lose a beat in translating the unique narrative properties of its source material. Director Denis Villeneuve crafts an atmosphere of disorientation, his scenes always slightly off, reflecting the inhrent strangeness that the characters are constantly facing in their work. Amy Adams is wonderful in this film. It is a wonderful, subtle performance built on a very human paradox of a character. Confronted with the impossible, Adams projects fear, wonder and curiosity all at once. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker provide solid performances in supporting roles, but this is Amy Adams’ show through and through.

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.55.36 AMScreen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.56.52 AMArrival is an astounding of profound ambition. It is a movie that is able to subvert one of most fundamental principles of cinema in the delivery of a narrative that proves to be both emotionally and intellectually satisfying. It is a wild experiment masquerading as a sci-fi blockbuster that also happens to feature a quietly amazing performance from one of the most underappreciated actresses around. It’s a strange film that will confound expectations, and that’s always something that’s worth seeking out.

ARRIVAL OPENS ON FEBRUARY 15, 2017, IN CINEMAS NATIONWIDE. CATCH SNEAK PREVIEWS IN SELECTED CINEMAS ON FEBRUARY 6-7, 2017.
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.