My latest piece is available here: http://www.firstofthemonth.org/with-reservation/
“Wild River,” recently available on pay-per-view, centers around the gang rape-murder of a young Native American woman on a Wyoming reservation.
Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, the film begins with one of those take-notice “Inspired by…” or “Based upon actual events” tags and closes with the chilling notice that no “missing person statistics… exist for Native American women.” Much of what is depicted is extraordinary: the wintery, desolate but beautiful rez; the striking presence of some of the supporting actors. But much is familiar: the damaged, loner male avenger (Jeremy Renner, more appealing than had been Benicia del Toro in Sheridan’s “Sicario), and the in-over-her-depth female (Elizabeth Olson, less traumatized than had been Emily Blunt); and the climactic where-is-Sam-Peckinpah-when-you-need-him shoot-out. So I wondered how much exactly was “actual,” its authenticity deflecting what might otherwise seem cliche.