US Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is an expert hunter and tracker living amongst the snowy terrain of Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. He's used to freezing temperatures and animal corpses, but when he discovers the body of a dead girl while out doing his usual tour of the landscape on his snowmobile, he enlists the help of the town's chief of police who brings in an FBI agent named Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen). Unfortunately, she isn't quite the agent they were expecting and, being from Florida, is far from familiar with this kind of weather. But when it becomes clear that they have a homicide on their hands, the three of them band together to uncover the identity of the assailant - or, indeed, assailants.
Continue: Wind River - Trailer and Clips
Director-cowriter Megan Griffiths refuses to sensationalise the tabloid aspects of this harrowing true story about human trafficking within the USA. As she follows the central character into a nightmare of forced prostitution, the film could have easily exploited the sexual situations. Instead, she takes a matter-of-fact approach that's deeply unsettling. The filmmaking may sometimes feel a little simplistic, but it raises issues in ways we never expect.
The true story begins in 1994 New Mexico, where 18-year-old Hyun Jae (Chung) goes on a date with a seemingly nice guy (Mechlowicz) and is suddenly sold into black-market slavery. She's renamed Eden and forced to work as a prostitute alongside much younger girls. Living in a series of warehouses overseen by crooked cop Bob (Bridges), Eden continually tries to escape and is met with brutal punishment as a result. Finally, she decides that her only hope is to get close to their pimp Vaughan (O'Leary), a young veteran with a drug-addiction problem. But as she gets to know him, she realises that he's trapped as well.
The film explores much more complex aspects of the captive-captor relationship, as Eden becomes increasingly close to Vaughan, helping him with his work and even ratting out some of the other girls who break the rules. Of course, there's an event that snaps Eden back to attention, leading to the necessary confrontation. But all the way through, filmmaker Griffiths focuses on the psychological and emotional side of the story, leaving much of the actual violence and sexual abuse off-screen. Just a bit more detail, and a clearer sense of the chain of events, might have made the film's gut-punch much stronger.
Continue reading: Eden Review
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