Skip to content

Those Who Wish Me Dead: A Fun Thriller Full of Tense Moments and Likable Characters

May 15, 2021
Poster courtesy of Warner Brothers

Quick Thoughts – B+ – The Taylor Sheridan directed Those Who Wish Me Dead is welcome counterprogramming to the action films released today. The action is grounded, the stakes are real, and it’s driven mostly by characters (not bombastic action).

Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water, Yellowstone, Without Remorse, Wind River) is one of the most consistent writers/directors working today. The films/television shows that he either writes or directs, take place in wide-open expanses, and focus on capable people engaging in wildly violent affairs that leave many dead. Those Who Wish Me Dead, is a perfect example of what Sheridan loves

Those Who Wish Me Dead focuses on a wild manhunt that leaves many dead or injured in its wake. The film starts off with two hitmen named Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) blowing up the house of a district attorney who is about to share some wildly damning news that will have ripple effects across the United States. When word of the explosion hits the news, Owen (Jake Webber), the man who figured out the corruption, grabs his son Connor (Finn Little) and drives from Florida to Montana, so they can stay at his brother-in-law’s ranch. Before they can reach the home of Allison (Medina Senghore) and Ethan (Jon Bernthal), Owen is killed by the hitmen, and Connor escapes and enters the Montana wilderness in search of help. This leads him to Hannah (Angelina Jolie), a firefighter who is spending time at a fire watchtower after a tragic event that took place during a forest fire. 

With all the chess pieces set, the action kicks off and goes to some brutal and tragic places (the fireplace scene…). What makes the film work so well are the capable characters who are really good at murder, or are really good at avoiding being killed. Jack and Patrick are intriguing characters because they are all about the job, and there is very little drama between them. They just really want to accomplish their mission, and get the heck out of Montana before too much attention is thrust upon them. It’s nice that Sheridan uses Nicholas Hoult’s tall 6’3 frame to his advantage, and he towers above his shorter costars, which adds menace to his character. Hannah is an interesting character as well, and it’s cool seeing Jolie back in the action genre. The character is clearly struggling with PTSD, but she’s extremely capable, which makes her being sidelined to the tower seem both unjust and logical. 

 The cinematography by Ben Richardson (Wind River, Yellowstone) does a fine job capturing the wide open vistas of New Mexico (Standing in for Montana), and the costume design and production design by Kari Perkins (Everybody Wants Some!! Mud, Wind River) and Neil Spisak (Wind River, Spider-Man, Face/Off) feels authentic and lived in (lots of carhartt). Also, the screenplay by Sheridan, Charles Leavitt, and Michael Koryta (who also wrote the 2019 book) does a fine job of giving each character moments to shine as Jolie, Hoult, and Connor all have standout moments. 

Final thoughts –Those Who Wish Me Dead is a welcome throwback thriller that features likable heroes and villains killing each other.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: