Cast The Who Wish Me Dead: Angelina Jolie, Finn Little, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen, Joe Bernthal, Medina Senghore
Those Who Wish Me Dead Director: Taylor Sheridan
Those who wish me dead rating: 3 stars
Action thriller They Who Wish Me Dead, written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, sees Angelina Jolie play a serious, dramatic role after a long time. While the film is quite conventional in its genre and the plot moves along a predictable path, it is elevated by strong performances, well drawn characters and pace.
Jolie stars as a smoke jumper named Hannah Faber who is posted at a fire watchtower. Guilty over something that happened in her past, she blames herself for the deaths of three children and a fellow smoker in a forest fire.
Lucky for the world, Hannah has suicidal tendencies. Her path crosses a child named Connor (Finn Little), who is being hunted by two ruthless killers who have already killed his father. She takes it upon herself to protect the child from harm, no matter what. Her motive is as much to save an innocent life as to redeem herself in her eyes.
Sheridan, who also wrote (but didn’t direct) 2016’s brilliant Hell or High Water, also a neo-western feature, brings some of that film’s sensibilities here, particularly the feeling that each character just seems world-weary—tired of their work and their lives. The effect is less consistent, but still convincing. This is largely due to good writing, at least when it comes to characters and performances.
The film has an extremely good, deep cast for a mid-tier production. Alongside Jolie, Joe Bernthal plays Deputy Ethan, who, along with his wife Allison (Medina Senghore), becomes entangled in the conflict. Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult are the killers.
Jolie is excellent here and in turn shows vulnerability and strength. It is clearly a difficult role that she knows how to fill.
Gillen and Hoult play the role of hitmen with an impassive, terrifying threat. It’s not often that actors of this caliber get such good, thinly written roles, and they do their job well – which are actually terrifying bad guys.
Overall, They Who Wish Me Dead is a capable action thriller that’s entertaining and well-acted, but also has a bit of garden variety. If you’re looking for something fresh or in-depth, there are other options. But if you just want to have a good time, you can’t go wrong with this one.
In India, They Who Wish Me Dead is available on Book My Show Stream.