Those Who Wish Me Dead may not be to everyone’s taste but I thought it was an intense ride with Angelina Jolie at her best and an impressive supporting cast. There are some decent R rated moments and the two villains are truly despicable making for an engaging 95 minutes.
Plot: 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.
Review: *Some spoilers ensue*
I’ve heard mixed reviews for Those Who Wish Me Dead (the title itself is a mouthful) where some have really enjoyed it and others have hated it; I’m somewhere in the middle where I had a good time with it but it’s hardly a classic.
Taylor Sheridan (Wind River, Hell or High Water) knows how to write a good story with realistic characters and sharp dialogue; Those Who Wish Me Dead has both even if some of it feels a little overly familiar.
It’s nice to see Angelina Jolie back on screen again and she’s as striking as always making her haunted character Hannah immediately appealing and sympathetic. She reminds me of a female Gabe Walker (Sly Stallone) from Cliffhanger who also had some past trauma to deal with and by rescuing someone in danger they find redemption so it’s not anything we haven’t seen before. Jolie is as magnetic as always and brings heart and a few nice touches of humour to the character.
While out in the wilderness she spots a young boy (Finn Little) covered in blood and she takes him under her wing to protect him from the men who murdered his father. He knew information about important people and was going to expose them which is why they are being hunted by two deadly assassins.
Said killers are played by Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen who are particularly nasty pieces of work; Gillen is an old hand at playing despicable villains but I haven’t seen Hoult play too many antagonists before and he was a revelation. I was yelling at the screen at several points so I was clearly engaged with the story.
Connor feels believable and we really root for him after all the trauma he endures his bond with Hannah gives the story some added depth.
Jon Bernthal is one of the best actors working today and can bring intensity to any role. He’s a good guy this time around and plays the Sheriff who is trying to find Connor while also trying to reconnect with his pregnant wife. I wasn’t sure I liked how his story played out at the end as I thought he deserved better.
I’d heard that some of the visual effects weren’t that great but I’ve seen worse and the encroaching fire adds a bit of extra tension. There are some decent R rated action scenes and violent kills which is always a plus point. At times it does lag a little but it gives the characters time to breathe and I was never bored.
The music score doesn’t make much of an impression but it worked in setting the tone for the film.
Overall, Those Who Wish Me Dead would make for a fun double bill with Firestorm; there are some impressive action scenes and the cast are all at their best especially Hoult and Gillen who make for truly hateful villains.