A Story of Survival
By Nirupa Mohan Dore Ceylon Today Features
Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie takes centre stage as Hannah, in the newly released neo-Western action thriller film Those Who Wish Me Dead. The movie set in the Montana wilderness, tells a story of a smokejumper recovering from trauma, who crosses paths with a boy on the run. The film is an adaptation of the New York Times bestselling novel of the same name, by author Michael Koryta.
The feature film brings to life a gripping story, with Jolie once again delivering an effortless performance, working alongside co-star Finn Little, who plays the role of Connor Casserly, a young boy, who after witnessing his father’s assassination becomes a target himself.
The duo is supported by a group of skilled stars that include Jake Weber as Owen Casserly, Jon Bernthal as Ethan Sawyer, Medina Senghore as Allison Sawyer, Nicholas Hoult as Patrick Blackwell, Aidan Gillen as Jack Blackwell, and Tyler Perry as Arthur Phillip, among others. The storyline initially unfolds with calm pacing, as the plot introduces the key characters, to give viewers an insight into who they are in their daily lives.
Hannah is shown as someone who is trying to cope with the loss of three lives, with flashbacks of her past as a smokejumper. She is temporarily placed in a new role, perched in a watch tower which looks like a more peaceful and quieter environment, to help her recover from the trauma.
Things suddenly change, when she meets Connor, who is in danger and needs her help. While on the run, Hannah realises that the boy she is trying to help is in more danger than she thought, as two dangerous killers close in on them, in the hunt for Connor. To makes things worse, they need to survive a fiery blaze that is destroying everything around them.
The film’s core strength is Jolie’s presence, and heavily relies on her acting. It takes time to set the tone for her character, but when it does, the story dives straight into the main plot. Apart from the straightforward storyline, there is no depth in terms of storytelling, unlike other films by Taylor Sheridan, but regardless of the way the story unfolds, it manages to keep its viewers engaged, with the main character and the sub-plots that follow.
This film in my opinion fails to live up to the Angelina Jolie brand as it doesn’t quite level up to the calibre of films she is known for, but she still manages to give her fans what they want in terms of quality entertainment. It has been a while since we have seen her in a simpler film like this, but she manages to tell the story in a fresh new light, bringing in her own style of acting.
The 100-minute film by director Sheridan, was produced together with producers Garrett Basch, Kevin Turen, Aaron L. Gilbert, and Steven Zaillian, working in collaboration with production companies Creative Wealth Media, Bron Studios, Bosque Ranch Productions, Film Rites, and New Line Cinema.
The movie released early May, in selected countries while others were delayed amidst the pandemic resulting in cinemas being closed in several countries around the world. However, Those Who Wish Me Dead managed to rake in just over US$13 million at the worldwide box-office supported by moderate to positive critic, backed by ratings of 60 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, 58 per cent on Metacritic and 6/10 on IMDb.
Rated R for strong violence, and language throughout, Those Who Wish Me Dead, manages to deliver an intriguing film that is worth watching.