Sunday, May 23, 2021

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Movie Name:
Those Who Wish Me Dead
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Aiden Gillen, Jon Bernthal, Finn Little, Jake Weber, Medina Senghore, Tyler Perry, James Jordan, Tory Kittles, Howard Ferguson Jr., Ryan Jason Cook
Genre: Action, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Taylor Sheridan made a name for himself as a celebrated writer, firstly with Denis Villeneuve's "Sicario", and also with the award nominated, "Hell or High Water", from director David Mackenzie. His directorial career has been a bit more modest, and this film is actually his third feature, following the well received "Wind River". This time around the film is an adaptation of the book by Michael Koryta, and focuses on the lives of two central characters, the first being a young boy by the name of Connor, and the second a survival expert by the name of Hannah. Connor is on the run in the woods of Montana, after witnessing his father being murdered. A larger conspiracy is being played out, and the people pursuing him want to make sure everything is cleaned up efficiently and with no witnesses. His only help comes in the shape of Hannah, a survivor expert, who is dealing with her own demons, after failing to save a few forest firefighters in a particular harsh situation. Together they must overcome ruthless pursuers who stop at nothing to erase all evidences of the conspiracy taking place.
"Those Who Wish Me Dead" had the potential to be a taut and brisk B-movie with great acting talent, sadly the film lacks the commitment and energy that Steven Soderbergh brought to "Haywire" for instance, or for that matter, Leigh Whannell brought to "Upgrade". During the film's condensed duration, the characters are briefly introduced and contextualized, just enough to understand their motivations, how & why they battle each other out for survival. One of the main issues with the film however, is the fact that in pursuing varied supporting stories and characters, it fails to capitalize on its main thread, particularly the dangers that await Hannah and Connor. That resolution of that particular narrative thread is quickly handled, without much suspense or tension for that matter. It's another case, where the material itself didn't necessarily marry with the perspective/point of view of the director, and the final output feels rushed and with a series of cliches that render the film watchable, but ultimately forgettable. The cast is filled with stellar performers, with Angelina Jolie once again giving the central character a vivid dimension, with solid support from Aiden Gillen and Nicholas Hoult. The cinematography from Ben Richardson is solid, as is the score from Brian Tyler. Passable but sadly not memorable.