Those Who Wish Me Dead
Those Who Wish Me Dead is a classic Neo-Western action thriller that follows the template of the genre – a character’s remorse, a character’s fight for justice and surviving in a place with no rules.
Directed by Taylor Sheridan, the film instantly builds suspense when two assassins (played by Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen) kill a family by setting their house on fire, and then drive off to kill another.
Within the first ten minutes into the film, you get the sense of urgency and thrill with three (or four, depending on how you see it) parallel storylines.
Hannah Faber (played by Angelina Jolie) is a smokejumper in Montana, who is struggling with the guilt of her past when she failed to save the lives of young campers in a forest fire.
While she copes with the incident Hannah comes across a boy, Connor Casserly (played by Finn Little) who has just witnessed the murder of his father by the assassins.
He manages to escape them and run into Hannah, who decides to protect him and bring justice to his family.
Based the novel by Michael Koryta, Those Who Wish Me Dead provides plenty of adrenaline throughout the 100 minute runtime – from car chases to explosions and a life-threatening forest fire destroying an entire town.
However, it leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination.
It establishes conflict between the protagonists and antagonist, but it’s rather perfunctory with under-developed characters and backstory.
The film explores multiple themes but leaves several loose ends without delving into the crux of any conflict.
For example, what was the assassin’s motive for the mission? What was Connor’s father’s (played by Jake Weber) secret that got him killed?
Speaking of the performances, Jolie is convincing as a damaged yet fierce firefighter on a mission to save a boy.
Little effortlessly plays the part of a 12-year-old grieving the loss of both parents.
Props to Cinematographer Ben Richardson for setting the tone and mood of the film with wide landscape shots.
It certainly deserves to be seen on the big screen for the desired effect.
Is it a perfect story to write home about – probably not.
Is it an engaging film to keep you at the edge of your seat – absolutely yes!
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.