Cinemas have re-opened this week in the UK (hurrah!), and amongst the new releases hitting the big screen right now is the action-thriller, Those Who Wish Me Dead. The movie – directed by Taylor Sheridan – tells the story of a wildland firefighter, who must protect a young boy from being hunted by assassins.
Based on the novel of the same name, by Michael Koryta, the film follows the story of Hannah Faber – a firefighter who oversees a forest tower in the Montana wilderness. Hannah is battling demons, following a tragic incident involving the death of three children, but is moving forward in life the best way she can, by continuing to do her job.
But things change for Hannah when she suddenly finds herself taking care of a young boy, who has been chased into the forest. The boy is the target of two hit men, who will stop at nothing in order to silence him.
Hannah does her best to guide the boy to safety, but the situation takes a dire turn when an out-of-control fire begins to rage through the forest. Danger now lurks behind every tree, as the killers grow ever nearer and the flames consume everything in their path.
Those Who Wish Me Dead stars Angelina Jolie, Aiden Gillen, Nicholas Hoult, and Jon Bernthal. As mentioned above, it is playing in UK cinemas from this week, but if you live in the US, you can either watch it on the big screen or you can watch it on HBO Max.
I live in the UK, so the option of watching on HBO Max is not available to me. Not that it matters, as I am very happy to see cinemas open again, following the various lockdowns because of COVID-19.
And of course, with this being one of the big new movies to kick-start UK cinemas, I want to be the bearer of good news and tell you that Those Who Wish Me Dead is an excellent movie, and one you must rush out and see.
I also want to tell you that this is an incredibly imaginative story. I want to say it has some top-notch characterisation, as well as multiple stand-out moments that will stay with you for years.
But if I told you all this, I would be telling you a pack of lies. Those Who Wish Me Dead is not a stand-out movie, perfect for easing yourself back into cinemas; it is instead, a very bland, run-of-the-mill picture, with little to recommend.
This is also a movie which wastes a very good cast. None of the star names in this film are given anything remotely interesting to do, and they spend the majority of the picture going through the motions, adequately delivering whatever it says in the script and nothing more.
I honestly don’t understand why these actors were cast in this movie. The material simply isn’t strong enough for any of them, and it really baffles me that Nicholas Hoult was cast as a non-descript hit man, when he is capable of so much more.
And the actors aren’t the only problem with this movie – the action, drama, and spectacle is also middle-of-the-road. Throughout the course of the movie, the narrative introduces thunder, lightning, and a forest fire, as well as two gun-wielding professionals out for blood, and yet none of these elements raise any level of interest in the film and everything falls flat.
The forest fire had the potential to turn this movie into an exciting disaster feature, or at the very least add some drama to proceedings, but nope, this simply didn’t happen. The deadly fire arrives far too late in the picture, by which time the wind has gone out of this movie’s sails.
Those Who Wish Me Dead has a lot of potential, but is ultimately a disappointment. It is completely forgettable and with the cast it has at its disposal, it should have been much, much better.
This is a box-ticking thriller at best, that plays out exactly as you might expect. I’m sure it will find an audience, because there are many people who are keen to head back to cinemas right now, but I expect this movie to come and go pretty quickly.
My advice? If you live in the UK, skip this one and instead go and see Godzilla vs. Kong, Sound of Metal, or Nomadland, which are all playing in cinemas right now and will allow you to support your local cinema, while watching something far more enjoyable.