There are times when a movie comes out of nowhere, only a few weeks before its theatrical release, the trailer is released and the poster is revealed and we then only know that it's acted by some famous celebrities and this time around, it's Angelina Jolie. Those Who Wish Me Dead is one of those movies where it feels so sudden, and the next thing you know, it's right there in the list of 'Now Showing'.
Here's a list of FAQ that some of you cinephiles are looking for.
Question #1: Does Angelina Jolie have ample screen time?
Suggested by the poster is a hint that Jolie will be given plentiful screen time which means that audience will think she is the lead character for the film. But the truth is, she's not. The main character here is the boy, portrayed by Finn Little who gets lost in the woods after an unfortunate incident happens. This means that the story revolves around him, Jolie is better said to occupy the supporting role. She has a lot of screen time right after she finds the lost boy. So no worries, she is still the spotlight!
Question #2: How is this compared to Taylor Sheridan's previous film, Wind River?
Wind River sets in snow while Those Who Wish Me Dead sets in the wilderness ablaze territory. In addition, Sheridan also writes the screenplay for Hell or High Water, sets in the dessert. We see that Sheridan has a pattern of using different geographical landscapes to build his film's premise. Wind River uses its landmark explicably well, with rising tension and rich storytelling that absorb the audience with its setting. This film tries to do that with a similar concept of cat-and-mouse game however, this film falls flat. There's something missing here. It's like the story is figuring out where to go along the way while it's being unfolded. It's unsure with the direction it's heading unlike Wind River. Coming in with a mediocre expectation, I found this to be... okay. Wind River wins by miles.
Question #3: This film is rated-R, how violence it is?
Yessss, I'm glad that this is rated-R. This is one of the things I like about this film. Because of its adult content, it doesn't hold its punches when it comes to showing gory stuff. There are even some highlight moments that can get your adrenaline moving fast.
Question #4: Never seen Finn Little before, is he any good?
From my viewing, he's got a pretty good acting skill. He has been in Angel of Mine and 2067 but those aren't blockbusters so probably a lot are wondering, 'Who the hell is this boy?'. He's good, but not good enough cause I wish they can somehow replace him with Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place, Wonder, Honey Boy). I feel that he can play the part much better cause he's more suitable with the role, honestly.
Question #5: How about the CGI? Is it realistic enough?
Some frames are but others aren't. There are times where you'd gob-smack seeing how realistic the fire is similar if you've seen Only the Brave. But there are shots that are edited badly, you know it's CGI the second you see them.
Question #6: Seeing that this is a survival genre, does the story keep you engaged?
The story isn't as heavy as Wind River or Hell or High Water. It's meant to be made commercial where the story doesn't come out as heavy for the general audience. The story is simple with a little bit of flair and it keeps the audience engaged by hooking them with riddles as the core question to why all of this is happening is hidden. However... however by the end, the audience is left with many questions as well as only a few that has been answered. Like mentioned earlier in Question #2, it has no clear direction to where the story is heading.
Question #7: What is your overall thought for Those Who Wish Me Dead?
I pretty much felt like there's a lot more to be desired. The pacing is slow enough with merely basis storytelling going on it makes me fidget during the first half. Only the second half when things get exciting. This is one of those movies where you watch for the sake of its action or actors but it's not mindless either. When you leave the theatre, you'll at least get some knowledge on how to survive a lightning strike or forest fire. Overall, this is an okay movie.
Question #8: Who should watch Those Who Wish Me Dead?
- Want to see Angelina Jolie kicks ass.
- Love assassination films.
- Are devoted fans of Taylor Sheridan's previous portfolio.
- Want to grasp how-to-survive tips.
- Don't mind major plot holes.
Verdict: Those Who Wish Me Dead delves deep into the burning forest with sharp survival skills however, it forgets to leave behind a compelling script resulting in a thin narrative that can only go as far as a horse running from a ruthless predator.