The Reel Review
A Montana firefighter haunted by recent tragedy is tasked with protecting a teenage murder witness from twin assassins and a raging forest fire, in this neo-Western, action/crime thriller starring Angelina Jolie.
Taylor Sheridan, writer of Sicario, Hell or High Water and Wind River (each of which earned A+ ratings from The Reelness), directs this film adaptation he co-wrote with Charles Levitt (Blood Diamond) and the 2014 novel’s author, Michael Koryta.
With a gorgeous wilderness backdrop, Those Who Wish Me Dead is a very stereotypical but taut thriller. It maintains an intense pace throughout, despite some unlikely scenarios. Jolie fans will get a kick out of the Lara Croft/Tomb Raider type daredevil moments.
The true standouts, however, are Finn Little (Reckoning) as the boy in peril and Medina Senghore (Happy!, Keeping Company) as the pregnant wife of the sheriff (Jon Bernthal) who also runs the local wilderness survival school. She is a badass. Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Nicholas Hoult phone it in as the assassins.
Despite its big name cast, Those Who Wish Me Dead still has a predictable, made-for-TV vibe to it. For what it is, it is well done but it also is a quickly forgettable, Saturday matinee type film.
• Taylor Sheridan was initially brought onboard just to rewrite the script for Those Who Want Me Dead. When the prior director dropped out, Sheridan offered to also direct it if he could convince Angelina Jolie to star.
• Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) also has appeared in two other Taylor Sheridan projects – Sicario and Wind River.
• Although set in Montana, Those Who Wish Me Dead was filmed in northern New Mexico.