Those Who Wish Me Dead Review: Angelina Jolie's inimitable screen presence blazes past Taylor Sheridan's movie

Those Who Wish Me Dead's straightforward storyline is as foreseeable as it gets but the Taylor Sheridan '90's style action thriller reminds us yet again of Angelina Jolie's inimitable superstar screen presence. Read Pinkvilla's full review below.
Those Who Wish Me Dead released in India on June 10 Angelina Jolie plays Hannah Faber, a smokejumper, in Those Who Wish Me Dead.
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Those Who Wish Me Dead

Those Who Wish Me Dead Cast: Angelina Jolie, Finn Little, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen

Those Who Wish Me Dead Director: Taylor Sheridan

Those Who Wish Me Dead Stars: 3/5

There is something so strikingly pleasing about Angelina Jolie kicking some major butt (with an axe in tow!) as a trueblood action hero with Those Who Wish Me Dead further cementing her movie star status. The Taylor Sheridan [with impressive credits like Sicario, Hell or High Water, Wind River and Yellowstone] film is extremely reminiscent of the '90s action thrillers which were jam-packed guilty pleasures for a casual audience, expecting a no-brainer thrill-seeking ride.

Before I get down to the specifics, Those Who Wish Me Dead centers on two main characters; on one hand, we have Hannah Faber (Jolie), a fearless smokejumper battling PTSD after failing to save three youngsters from a forest fire and on the other hand, we have Connor Casserly (Finn Little), running for his life after his father Owen Casserly (Jake Weber) was brutally murdered by Jack and Patrick Blackwell (Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult). Before his imminent death, Owen gives a piece of paper for Connor to give to the press containing illegal information, which is the very reason why he was getting killed in the first place.

As fate would have it, an overwhelmed Connor encounters Hannah, who is isolated in a fire lookout tower, after failing her psych evaluation and is struggling with her recurrent flashbacks. There's also Deputy Sheriff Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal), Owen's brother-in-law and Hannah's ex-boyfriend, who gets caught in the middle of the cat and mouse chase along with his six-month pregnant wife Allison Sawyer (Medina Senghore).

For Hannah and Connor, it's a true race against time as they don't just have to fend off the dangerous assassins, there's also the navigating through thunderstorms and forest fires. Tightly knitted in a duration of one hour and 39 minutes, Michael Koryta (author of the namesake novel the movie is based on), Charles Leavitt and Taylor's screenplay with Sheridan's no-nonsense, to the point direction leaves minimal room for character sketches and rather focuses on the high stakes danger surrounding the central characters. Moreover, it's not just Angelina and Finn, who have to do all the major lifting, but enough pace is bestowed upon the supporting cast as well.

The strongest of which is Medina's Allison, who is able to one-up the assassins with her will and grit for survival. There's particular catharsis one feels through Allison, especially in one action sequence, which will have you rooting for her. Jon as Ethan is just the right puzzle piece to connect the dots between Hannah, Connor and Jack, Patrick. Speaking of Nicholas and Aidan, the two do complete justice to their antagonist parts without trying the over-the-top shenanigans we're used to seeing in action movie villains.

When it comes to our central characters, Angelina goes back to her action roots and hasn't missed a step in the least, perfectly portraying the contrasting personality of Hannah, a fierce lady who doesn't take s**t from her male co-workers and is also deeply vulnerable due to past wounds. The varying emotions of Hannah are aptly captured by Jolie with minimal dialogue. On the other hand, Jolie finds the perfect counterpart in Finn, who easily slips into the complexities of a young boy like Connor, who had to deal with his dad's murder, running for his dear life, almost being struck by lightning and looking a forest fire right in the eye, all in the course of a day.

The switch within the lighter to deeper scenes between Hannah and Finn, whether it be the former giving the latter a pep talk on how making a bonfire will help him in kissing teenagers to Finn seeking comfort from an emotionally distant Hannah, it's the subtle transformation in their relationship as they steadily trust each other in the face of danger which is a welcome sight between the thrills and the frills.

ALSO READ: Angelina Jolie on needing her Those Who Wish Me Dead character: I felt a little beaten up in my own life

While the ensemble literally runs with what they've got through their 'deeply intriguing but not delved deeper into' characters to the finish line successfully, it's also Brian Tyler's ominous score interlaced with Neil Spisak's carefully nitpicked production design and the inspired visual effects, especially with the realistic-looking forest fires, that adds gravitas to the adventure. Ben Richardson's tangled cinematography is given more maturity with Chad Galster's crisp editing that makes you understand the gravity of the situation at hand while also making it an artistic, menacing visual set in motion. And the choreographed action pieces are truly edge of your seat worthy, especially the climax sequence, which sees Hannah and Finn, along with Ethan and Allison in the crossfire, stuck between a rock (Jack and Patrick) and a hard place (a trailblazing forest fire).

In conclusion, don't expect twists and turns from the straightforward storyline of Those Who Wish Me Dead because it's as predictable as one can get. Rather, watch it simply for Angelina Jolie's inimitable superstar screen presence. To that, I say, 'More of that, please?!'

Anonymous 3 days ago

Good to be back Angelina Jolie in action

Anonymous 4 days ago

Flop

Anonymous 4 days ago

The movie was a worldwide flop.

Anonymous 4 days ago

Movie sucked