• Son of Griff

    The most worrisome cliche that movies promote about the West, and that critics often perpetuate, is that the region was defined by conflicts between dual, culturally autonomous groups, as opposed to seeing the various frontiers as “zones of transition” between shifting centers of ecological, political, and economic power defined by cross cultural negotiations and alliances, activities that tragically led to imbalances of power between the parties. This leads to the romantic perception that First World peoples were merely romantic victims of progress that the “leatherstocking” intermediary would also be made tragically obsolete by the path of civilization, as always cynically imagined. It sounds like this film is merely updating the old tropes, or failing miserably to dramatize the ramifications of a new interpretation of frontier history.

    • John Bruni

      Also known as Imperialist Nostalgia.

    • One of the reasons I didn’t name the tribe of any of the people involved is because Wind River never bothers to specify and that the actual Wind River Indian Reservation holds the members of two separate tribes.

      To a point, I have seen recent queer movies made from people within the reservation that lament the loss of culture currently happening. One is a short called Sweet Night where a First Nations lesbian is frolicking with a white girl who knows more about her heritage than she does. She is later hit on buy a guy who is on the reservation and invites her back into the fold. A feature length movie is Drunktown’s Finest where three intertwined characters have to deal with the lack of opportunities within and without the reservation.

      Where those movies succeeded and this movie failed is by centralizing Native characters and telling THEIR story. It’s not just that Wind River or Taylor Sheridan sees the First World peoples as tragic victims of civilization – the characters say the FBI never helps them at all, nobody counts their statistics, and they’re stuck in a system of not of their making – but that Sheridan offers no insight into these lives. He wants to help and this is the only way he knows how (as opposed to, you know, elevating another storyteller or getting some outside help into his own story).

      It’s less Imperialist Nostalgia, but Imperialist Guilt Complex.

  • Gregg Friedman

    How often is it that you see a film you actually DO like?

    • I liked It, but Nerd already wrote about it.

      And I liked Baby Driver but Nerd also already wrote about it.

      And I really pliked Detroit, though I have complicated feelings toward it.

      I’m not one of those critics to heap praise on every movie I see. And when I do really like movies, I usually have complicated thoughts anyways.

      Wind River was Stonewall-level terrible, though.

      • Gregg Friedman

        I remember you saying Baby Driver was all style and no substance. Yet you liked it??

        • Well…yeah. Style is a reason to like things. It has absolutely no substance.

          • Gregg Friedman

            Your reviews and critiquing style has no substance

          • Gregg Friedman

            You try much too hard to assess film with some kind of hipster type attitude.