Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021) Review
ANGELINA Jolie returns to the big screen in a blockbuster which, despite centring around a raging fire storm, fails to leave a meaningful afterburn upon reaching the end of an albeit entertaining third act.
After witnessing the murder of a key assassination target, young teenager Connor (Finn Little) is now the only living person who holds critical information that can potentially change the course of political history. Alone and scared, Connor eventually runs into Hannah (Angelina Jolie), a firefighter who suffers from PTSD after being unable to save children from a hazardous fire several years ago and now wants to make amends by protecting Connor from two assassins pursuing him through an ever-growing forest fire.
Based on the novel of the same name, Those Who Wish Me Dead isn't the deepest emotional trip you will go on, but the film does offer sentimental moments of character building that help Jolie's latest venture maintain a steady, purposeful beat throughout.
As expected, Angelina Jolie's Hannah is the most consistent, well-written character throughout, proving her competence time and time again in realistic ways which are used to further develop and overcome her mentally-scarred psyche. Young actor Finn Little proves that you improve when inside the shadow of greatness as, although initially shaky in his performance, his acting range increases significantly during the second act when he is paired with Jolie, giving both a partner to work off as they each express emotional remorse for their analogous situations.
The film isn't without its losses though as the overall flow and tone of the story feels incredibly by-the-numbers and safe, leading to an all-to predictable resolution, resulting in a climax that features little to no stakes. But in a way, its simplicity truly is what makes Those Who Wish Me Dead a decent watch. Taylor Sheridan's captivating writing shown in films such as Sicario may be mute, but his direction is still very much apparent as is shown through beautifully shot action sequences in amongst a raging forest fire.
Those Who Wish Me Dead may not be everyone's cup of tea, but the film offered enough decent character building moments and entertaining dialogue, particularly from the two lead assassins Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult), to make for an inoffensive cinematic comeback for one of Hollywood's greatest leading ladies.