Those Who Wish Me Dead is a taut and engaging thriller bolstered by Angelina Jolie and Finn Little's performances.
Based on the novel of the same name and directed by Taylor Sheridan, this film captured my attention from the opening scene, and thanks to its suspenseful plot, I was engrossed in it until the very end.
After bearing witness to the murder of his father, a young boy named Connor (Finn Little) must stay one step ahead of those who are after him and find someone he can trust to aid him to expose the secret his parent died for.
Angelina Jolie plays Hannah, a firefighter haunted by a mistake she made in the past. When she crosses paths with Connor, the two form an unlikely alliance and must fight to survive the two hitmen who are determined to wipe them off the face of the earth.
To distract the people of the small town as they leave a trail of bodies in their path, the assassins start a huge fire in the woods and Hannah finds herself in a position where she must face her inner demons and do the right thing for herself and the boy who depends on her.
Angelina Jolie and Jon Bernthal in THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD
I didn't watch the trailer for this movie, and I had not the faintest idea of what the story was about. So, I kept an open mind as I watched it and I'm glad it went above my expectations.
I love the way the director used the suspense to keep the viewer vested in the plot. There is a secret that only Connor's father knows and it's something that he is ready to die for. He prepares his young son for the worst, convinced that he did the right thing. What is the secret, and who wants to stop it from getting out so badly? These are the two most important questions in the film.
Finn Little and Jolie in THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD
As an actor, Little matches Jolie's performance with his own, bringing that needed range expected from his character. His portrayal of a child who finds himself lost in an unforgiving world that has snatched both his parents is deserving of applause and makes the viewer empathetic towards him.
Those who are familiar with Jolie know what to expect when they see her in any movie. Here, she doesn't disappoint, bringing the needed humanity to a character who can't get over her failure. I was particularly glad to know that she hasn't lost her scene-stealing ability.
Nicolas Hoult in THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD
Members of the supporting cast also contribute their quota to make the film worth watching. The standouts for me are Jon Bernthal, Nicolas Hoult, and Medina Senghore.
As the Sheriff who is caught between going against everything his badge stands for to ensure the safety of his wife and unborn child, or risking it all to do his sworn duty, Bernthal represents that moral compass that is one of our most defining traits as humans. The actor plays the role well enough.
Hoult's character may be the less experienced and younger of the two hitmen but his calm demeanor and piercing blue eyes make him the more lethal of the two. His skills with the sniper, impressive judgment, and relentless nature put him above his colleague.
The actress Medina Senghore plays the wife of the sheriff who falls back on her survival skills when ambushed by the two hitmen. I don't think I've ever seen a heavily pregnant woman take on two deadly assassins in a movie using just her wits and a bottle of wine. Senghore does that in a moment that had me gaping with awe.
Medina Senghore and Bernthal in the film
The cinematography is wonderful, showing the impressive landscape of the Montana region and the action scenes are well-executed.
My only issue with Those Who Wish Me Dead is that by the time the end credits begin rolling in, the film's biggest question remains unanswered.
Other than the above, this is a movie that will keep viewers entertained and one action aficionadoes will be glad they watched. Kudos to director Taylor Sheridan, and the two leads Jolie and Little. Their efforts paid off in the end.