Movie Review: Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)

Directed by Taylor Sheridan and based on Michael Koryta’s novel of the same name, Those Who Wish Me Dead is a 2021 action thriller. Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie) is assigned to a fire lookout tower in the forests of Montana where she is struggling to deal with past traumas, but soon comes into contact with young Connor (Finn Little), who claims to be being hunted by two deadly assassins (Nicholas Hoult and Aiden Gillen). Meanwhile, local Deputy Sherriff and Hannah’s former boyfriend, Ethan (Jon Bernthal) and Ethan’s heavily pregnant wife (Medina Senghore) are caught up in the situation as natural disasters encroach on all sides.

+ with a surprisingly deep cast, all of the acting is good to great, though Nicholas Hoult is the real standout. I want a spinoff of Hoult and Aiden GIllen just doing their bad guy stuff. I don’t know if I’ve seen Little in anything else, but his scenes of bonding with Hannah (Jolie) were surprisingly effective. I found myself really invested in Ethan and Allison’s (Bernthal and Senghore, respectively) relationship, and was happy that an early faux-drama tease was left as just that; a tease.
+ stylistically this whole film felt a lot like a 90s action movie, like Mercury Rising (tough as nails hero protects a young child), Deep Impact (looming disasters threaten everyone), or Dante’s Inferno (fire = bad). I don’t know if they qualify as B movies, necessarily, but that’s the feeling I got, and I don’t think this movie was attempting to be anything more
+ it’s a danger every living creature knows going back to the beginning of history, but fire is bad news. Instead of an asteroid or volcano, as in the films listed above, fire doesn’t need much of a set up to prove it is bad news and something to be feared. It’s a really simple but incredibly effective threat (I could go into how Australia was literally burning itself to cinders just over a year ago, but I think you get my point)

– the fact I can even list off other movies like this can be seen as a knock against it. I know there is no such thing as a new idea anymore, but this movie didn’t really treat any new ground, unless you consider a woman being the lead as something worth seeing. I didn’t really see it that way

Should you see this film: This was a breeze to watch, and the performances of Hoult and Gillen in particular are enough to say this might be worth a single viewing. Put some popcorn on and you’ll make a good enough night of it.

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