Those Who Wish Me Dead is a 2021 American neo-Western action thriller film directed by Taylor Sheridan with a screenplay by Michael Koryta, Charles Leavitt, and Sheridan, based on Koryta's novel of the same name. The film stars Angelina Jolie, Finn Little, Jon Bernthal, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen, and Medina Senghore.
A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.
Those Who Wish Me Dead was a fine film, but it was one I couldn't help but be disappointed with. Mainly because Taylor Sheridan is so talented. I love him as a writer and now as a director after the amazing and underrated Wind River. This film had the potential to be a great action thriller, but unfortunately, it comes up a little short.
The biggest problem to me was the second act. It felt very stagnant and our main characters weren't doing much. That leads to my second problem. Angelina Jolie's character was entirely unneeded in the film. She has no impact on the story, so when we're with her, the film really slows down. I don't know why her character was written in. Jon Bernthal was a much better character and he had an impact in the story both physically and emotionally. I found him and his wife a lot more interesting than Jolie.
The story is simple. Two contract killers hunt down this kid played very well by Finn Little, and they chase him into a Montana forest where Bernthal and Jolie work. The problem is that when this kid and Jolie meet up, they don't really do much. The second act is them walking to Jolie's watch tower. Then they walk to a town only to turn around as it's blocked by a fire. Then the story actually starts. Jolie during the second act is at this watch tower and that's pretty much it. There's some good bonding scenes between her and the kid, but not a lot else to offer.
This film needed something else. There was something missing, and unfortunately, it held the film back. A great performance from Angelina Jolie unfortunately felt a little wasted as her character simply felt like an extra instead of someone important and that's the biggest problem with this film.
Overall, the film did enough for me to enjoy it, but I was unfortunately disappointed in the end. Great performances, great directing, and a solid story was unfortunately held back by a rough second act and a character that wasn't involved enough in the plot.
© 2021 Royce Proctor Jr