Those Who Wish Me Dead is a cool title for a very hollow but passable thriller.
Maybe Watch It?
I have to admit between the cast and the director/writer Taylor Sheridan, I had my hopes high on Those Who Wish Me Dead. The premise seemed simple enough, but after many of the previous films Sheridan was involved in I was thinking maybe this one has more to it. Welp, that was the wrong assumption to make with this one. Let’s dig into this one.
Those Who Wish Me Dead follows a boy named Connor whose father was unfortunately privy to some pretty incriminating information on someone of power. Maybe it was a whole bunch of rich people or maybe just one person, the movie doesn’t really dive into what the heck the guy knew, only that it was worth killing anyone that knows about it or someone that comes in contact with a person who knows about it. A McGuffin if you will. Poor Connor happens to escape his fate and while wondering in the Montana wilderness he stumbles upon Angelina Jolie’s Hannah, a wilderness firefighter stationed on a watch tower assignment. From there story turns into the heroes attempting to protect the kid and the assassin’s trying to kill said kid.
There are moments of depth for Hannah, but it isn’t explored to great detail nor really any of the characters. It’s very surface level which is a shame because there could have been more to this. I assume that might be the case in the book its based off of. It feels like this is a story meant to play in the head of Hannah to reveal a lot more about her own struggles. Sadly, it’s just not there in the script. So, moving past that what do you have? Well again a really great cast. I especially like survivalist couple Ethan and Allison, played by Jon Bernthal and Medina Senghore respectfully, who add fun twists to the proceedings. In fact, I think it would have been a much more fun movie if it centered around those two and expanding on the story beats that they were involved in. Past them the other major leads Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult play the assassins Jack and Patrick. They are generic assassins. Poor Gillen seems to be type cast now in these henchmen bad guy roles that are paper thin in background. He’s a bad guy because bad guy type stuff.
This all speaks to the theme of this movie, it’s very by the numbers, moves at a breakneck pace and never allows room to really do more than be a passable thriller on its best night. Which hey, not a bad thing if that’s all you are looking for. Which is where my recommendation is coming from. This movie isn’t bad for the blanket-not-thinking entertainment value. It has great actors, an easy-to-follow story, and the wilderness setting isn’t used nearly enough so it separates itself from other movies just like this. So if that is good enough for ya, well go ahead and give this one a watch.