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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Now showing: Those Who Wish Me Dead (MA15+)

Luke McWilliams gives his review of the 2021 thriller, Those Who Wish Me Dead, starring Angeline Jolie and Nicholas Hoult.

Traumatised former firefighting smokejumper Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie) has been reallocated out of harm’s way to a fire lookout tower in rural and remote Park County, Montana. Meanwhile, a forensic accountant and his son are on the run from mafia assassins, which lead them into the county …

Director and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is no stranger to the neo-Western thriller genre after fantastic turns with Sicario, Hell or High Water and Wind River. Those Who Wish Me Dead is surprisingly high-concept: Hannah must protect a young murder witness while traversing a fire-drenched wilderness.

Our would-be assassin brothers (Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult) are suitably sinister with adequate depth; the younger relishing the opportunity to step up into his own. Local sheriff Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal) and wife Allison (Medina Senghore) are both vulnerable and formidable hostages, using unexpected survival skills typical of the area.

The setting is beautiful but dangerous. Whilst keeping one step ahead of the killers, Hannah must escort her young witness across the cold remote landscape under the veil of night against natural threats such as animals, lightning and bush fires. It is odd that Hannah’s trauma is not too obvious; she is introduced happily socialising with her work friends, albeit with a penchant for recklessness.

Verdict: While a strong and entertaining action thriller, there is surprisingly little emotional resonance. More weight may have been given to Hannah’s growth if she fully experienced an emotional catharsis. 3 stars.

Seen at Palace Electric cinemas.

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