A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.
It’s nearly the end of May and I’ve just been to see my first film of the year at the cinema is a line I never imagined I’d be saying, but here we are! Cinemas are now able to reopen across the UK and on Friday I headed to my local Cineworld to check out Taylor Sheridan’s new movie, ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’. To be honest, I’d have gone to see pretty much anything at this point but given Sheridan’s track record (‘Hell or High Water’, ‘Sicario’, ‘Wind River’) this felt like the perfect movie for my return. It’s hard to say how much that potentially played into my enjoyment of ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’, but I had a blast watching this and though it was a really entertaining thriller.
The movie essentially boils down to a survival thriller where we have Angelina Jolie’s Hannah and a young boy (Connor) trying to escape two ruthless mercenaries in a forest, with deadly forest fires adding an additional threat. Hannah is a smokejumper living in the Montana wilderness who is on duty in a fire lookout tower, when she comes across Connor, who is scared and alone having just witnessed the death of his father. The two of them have to work together to evade the mercenaries with their options running out as wildfires rage towards them. The reason for the mercenaries involvement relates to some kind of conspiracy that I don’t think the film explains all that well, although to be honest, it doesn’t really matter. It gets the characters where they need to be and the plot flows from there.
It’s not as sharp as Sheridan’s previous works and is more of a straightforward thriller than the aforementioned movies that had a lot more nuance and subtext, but it is technically well crafted and the performances are good. Jolie is still a very capable leading lady and it’s a shame she doesn’t act as much these days, whilst I particularly liked the supporting performances from Jon Bernthal as the local sheriff and Medina Senghore as his pregnant wife – Senghore in particular gets some really memorable moments.
‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ is a well-directed action thriller that delivers a genuine sense of peril for its leading characters, even if it stays very firmly within the confines of its genre, and for my first trip back to the cinema, I picked well. Next time though, please pick a better title – I’ve got myself tongue tied on several occasions trying to remember the name of this film!
Directed By: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, Aidan Gillen, Jon Bernthal, Medina Senghore, Jake Weber, Tyler Perry, James Jordan and Tory Kittles