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Those Who Wish Me Dead

Image Credit: Warner Brothers

Simon Dillon, 28th May 2021
Tags: Life Spoken Word Action Drama Thriller

I should preface this review with a caveat that I am likely to be more generous than usual, purely because it was so wonderful to be back in the cinema after another lengthy (and I hope final) closure period. 

Under normal circumstances, I’d probably report that 'Those Who Wish Me Dead' is a solidly entertaining action thriller. Under these circumstances, it felt like a long cold drink of water after a blistering crawl across a burning desert.

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Based on a novel by Michael Koryta, and directed by Taylor Sheridan, the plot concerns an adolescent boy caught up in a murderous conspiracy, with only Angelina Jolie’s forest firefighter with a traumatic past between him and certain death. Actually, that’s not quite true, because Jolie’s ex, a policeman, and his pregnant wife, also get caught up in the crossfire, as the result of plot convolutions I won’t spoil.

There are plenty of cliches here, but they are offset by a few unexpected turns, as well as a strong performance from Jolie, still a great action lead. She is well supported by Finn Little, Jon Bernthal, Medina Senghore, Aiden Gillan, and Nicholas Hoult. It’s great to see the latter in villain mode for a change. In addition, there’s some splendid location scenery, with gorgeous Montana vistas, and plenty of violent action, deftly helmed by Sheridan.

It certainly hits the spectacle spot in suitably satisfying fashion.

Said action dominates, and the bigger conspiratorial machinations of the plot are largely ignored, which gives the film focus and punch. Despite the enjoyable spectacle, I can’t really claim it’s doing anything particularly original or ground-breaking, but after a long cinematic dry spell, it certainly hits the spectacle spot in suitably satisfying fashion, particularly during the forest fire sequences.

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