It’s called Mexican Standoff, also known as “Mexican standoff”, and in the film Wind River we see one of the best in the history of cinema.
One of the most brilliant thrillers of recent years is the second direction of the acclaimed screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. It is from the creator of the series Yellowstone that we are talking about, and its spin-offs 1883 e 1923as well as the first series in which he participated Sylvester Stallone, Tulsa King. Ma Sheridan he is also the author of the film scripts Hell or High Water (which earned him a nomination at theOscar for best screenplay) and of the two Sicario.
At this point it should be clear to you that the natural environment for him is the western, the genre he uses to tell the story of the American frontier, current or past times. And, albeit Wind River Secrets is set today in the snow of Wyoming, it is a full-fledged western that wants to tell the story of the failure of the Native American reservations.
Protagonist of the film is lone hunter Cory Lambert, probably the best interpretation of Jeremy Renner. While hiking in the snowy forests, he comes across the corpse of a close friend’s daughter. As tragic memories resurface from his personal past, he decides to join the girl FBI agent Jane Bannerwhich has the face of Elizabeth Olsen, to find those responsible for the murder. The glacial cold seems to want to keep silences and secrets, but the two do not give up and continue to pursue the truth.
Wind River: the most spectacular scene in the film
In order to continue reading, it is important to have seen the film. The scene we are about to talk about represents a crucial moment in the narration of the story, in addition to the visual spectacularity offered by the direction.
The investigations lead Banner and Lambert to that very place where we viewers already know what happened, thanks to a previously seen flashback. In this way, Sheridan puts us in a privileged position with respect to the protagonists of the story, a ploy that serves to increase tension, as taught by the good Alfred Hitchcock.
At the workers’ RV park, the sheriff, his men and Officer Banner are closing the circle around the prime suspect in the murder. The situation is more complicated than they believe and precipitates what is an instantaneous Mexican Standoffalso called Mexican stall, involving a total of 11 people. The scene works beautifully thanks to the direction of Sheridan and how he built the suspense up to that point.
The phrase is traced back to a story by a certain F. Harvey Smith written in 1876, probably originating from the robberies of Mexican bandits. With Mexican Standoff, today we mean a confrontation between two or more people (but there is always an open debate on the fact that there must be at least three) in which none of the parties has a clear advantage over the other and that the only possible outcomes are opposites: each he backs down and walks away or serious injury, if not death, is guaranteed. Most of the Mexican standoffs we’ve seen in the cinema include firearms, but it is also true with bladed weapons or, when effectively constructed, with words.
You will often hear that two people facing each other, in the most classic image of the western duel, simply represent one standoff, where one’s advantage is skill and speed with which he handles the gun. In order to qualify as a “Mexican”, at least one other person is needed who can destabilize the balance of the situation by increasing the uncertainty of the outcome. Basically, the stalemate is created because the danger is so high that no one has the courage to take the initiative.
It’s in the movies of Quentin Tarantino e John Woo that we often see stalls with firearms.