THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD (2021)
Taylor Sheridan delivers a no-frills action thriller in Those Who Wish me Dead, a film that is visually satisfying and narratively frustrating, ultimately leaving you wanting more.
Angelina Jolie stars as a smoke jumper who ends up thrust into a fight for survival as she helps a young boy entangled in a plot of major corruption outrun assassins in the Montana wilderness set aflame. Sheridan’s latest outing is an ambitious tale that prioritizes action over any sort of character development that leaves you indifferent as to whether any of the characters survive the fast-paced film. While the core plot is intriguing, it lacks any sort of depth; the audience is given zero answers as to the overarching impetus for the film’s events. Jolie is simply fine, but a far cry from the action star she once was. She spends the majority of scenes taking punches, literally and figuratively, and is completely outshined by supporting castmate Medina Senghore, who deserves her own action feature vehicle immediately. There are other palatable performances from Jon Berenthal and Tyler Perry, the latter of which shows up for a brief moment and leaves you thinking “huh?” Nicholas Hoult flexes his villainous muscles here and excels as one of the film’s main antagonists.
Those Who Wish Me Dead works for what it is, however outlandish and unbelievable some of it may be; Stormtrooper-esque shooting and an insanely fast wildfire that looks digitally created take the wind out of the film’s sails. If Sheridan would simply take his time in fleshing out the stories of his films, they would hit the intended notes in a much more satisfying way. That said, parts of Those Who Wish Me Dead are thrilling and suspenseful, well worth the trip to the theater, or at least the watch on HBO Max.
Those Who Wish Me Dead debuts this Friday in theaters and on HBO Max.
Photo from Vulture