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those who wish me dead

★★★

director: taylor sheridan (wind river)

starring: angelina jolie, finn little, aiden gillen and nicholas hoult

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

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 seems like an age since we’ve seen Angelina Jolie on the silver screen. Granted, she appeared as the titular character in the Disney sequel Maleficient: Mistress of Evil in 2019 but that was smothered in prosthetics and encased in costume. In Those Who Wish Me Dead Jolie plays a completely human character and although she draws you in with her acting skill, star power and charisma and the film is entertaining, the story leaves some character arcs and narrative threads hanging. 

 

Still reeling from the loss of three lives, Hannah is a smoke jumper who's perched in a watchtower high above the Montana wilderness. She soon encounters Connor, a skittish boy who's bloodied, traumatized and on the run in the remote forest. As Hannah tries to bring him to safety, she's unaware of the real dangers to follow: two relentless killers hunting Connor, and a fiery blaze consuming everything in its path.

 

The plot of Those Who Wish Me Dead is simple enough. After the murder of a district attorney, Connor and his Dad Owen are on the run from some would be assassins and Hannah gets pulled straight into that mess. The film is punctuated with ferocious wildfires and brutal action which completely hooks the viewer in which sends us all towards an edge of your seat finale. 

 

Unfortunately there are elements of the script that feel undercooked, with some scenes and character arcs having you believe that you were watching the first draft of that script. For a writer and director of Taylor Sheridan’s calibre you can’t help but go away wanting a little more. The most well rounded and kick ass character other than Hannah is Allison, sheriff Sawyer's pregnant wife who brutally and wonderfully kicks ass. 

 

That being said Those Who Wish Me Dead is the Angelina Jolie show. She truly is a movie star of old, grabbing you by the scruff of the neck and pulling you deep into the story. Worth the price of admission alone. 

 

Although Angelina Jolie draws you in with her acting skill, star power and charisma and Those Who Wish Me Dead is an entertaining film, the story leaves some character arcs and narrative threads hanging.

★★★