Those Who Wish Me Dead: Film Review

Those Who Wish Me Dead

I haven’t seen Angelina Jolie doing some acting for ages so I was thrilled to see her back on my screen in Those Who Wish Me Dead and thankfully, the film itself is pretty great too.

Jolie stars as Hannah Faber, a troubled smokejumper who recently failed a psych evaluation and has been taken out of action and sent to a fire lookout tower in the remote forest in Montana. One day she comes across a young boy named Connor (Finn Little), who hid behind a tree and witnessed his accountant father get murdered by two assassins, Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult), before escaping into the forest. The assassins soon realise Connor is still alive and is potentially privy to the information his father was killed for so they set off in hot pursuit. Hannah helps protect the boy from the assassins and the massive wildfire they deliberately start.

Those Who Wish Me Dead is a straightforward and traditional thriller that feels plucked straight out of the ’90s. This type of mid-budget thriller hardly ever gets made anymore or ends up on a streaming service rather than in the cinema, which seems to have become all about blockbusters or indies, nothing in-between. But this old-fashioned film serves as a reminder that these movies are good, there is still interest in them, and more should be made. Let’s bring them back!

Taylor Sheridan, who co-wrote the script with Michael Koryta and Charles Leavitt, has set the bar high with his previous writing credits on Hell or High Water and Sicario and this doesn’t quite match the standard of those but his direction is solid, the pacing is spot-on, and I enjoyed how the thriller played out, although I would’ve liked more details about the damaging information the accountant was killed for knowing.

I was a big fan of Jolie’s work back in her prolific acting days and she shines up on the screen as Hannah, who is one of the boys and uses jokes and banter to cover up her troubles. The role is both emotionally and physically demanding – Hannah needs to be in incredible shape for her job – and Jolie aced the character on both fronts. I don’t have any issues with her acting but she’s too gorgeous to be convincing as this rough and ready person and has too much make-up on in the later scenes when she’s covered in blood, mud and bruises.

Jon Bernthal was a strong addition as the area’s sheriff Ethan, Gillan always makes for a menacing antagonist and that’s no different here, while Hoult doesn’t bring much of that to the table. I didn’t find him at all threatening and knew that Hannah could easily sort him out. But they are all outshone by relative newcomers Little and Medina Senghore (as Ethan’s pregnant wife Allison) – Little does brilliant emotional work for such a young actor and Senghore has the most unexpectedly kickass role in the movie. A very pleasant surprise!

Those Who Wish Me Dead is thrilling, gripping, and tells a compelling story with an intriguing set of characters. I highly recommend it.

Side note: If you’re interested in seeing more about smokejumpers then you should watch Only the Brave (bring tissues!)

In cinemas now

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The cinemas are back! Here’s what you can watch

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Cinemas in England have been closed since December and I am SO excited for them to reopen tomorrow! I have missed them so much! To make up for lost time, I have got two films booked in on Monday and three overall this week.

Films don’t generally get released on Mondays, but to celebrate the return of cinemas, the following four movies were given the release date of Monday 17th May. Here’s all the info:

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Get ready for more elaborately gruesome, wince-inducing traps – the Saw franchise is back! This ninth instalment stars Chris Rock and Max Minghella as two cops who investigate grisly murders which bear an uncanny resemblance to the work of the Jigsaw killer. This instalment is said to have more comedy moments and a social justice angle, in addition to the gore.

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Taylor Sheridan‘s new thriller has an amazing cast which includes Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Bernthal and Aidan Gillen. Jolie plays a smokejumper who goes on the run with a teenager murder witness in the Montana wilderness to escape a pair of assassins hired to silence him. This is my first screening tomorrow and I’m excited for it.

Peter Rabbit 2

More animated hijinks in this sequel to the 2018 family adventure. Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne return as the live-action leads, who are now married and living happily with the animated Peter (voiced by James Corden) and his family. But Peter gets restless and bored with blissful garden life and causes chaos (as always) by going to the big city.

The Unholy

And for people who like their horrors more supernatural than gory, there’s The Unholy, starring The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It follows a hearing-impaired girl who is visited by the Virgin Mary and can suddenly hear, speak and heal the sick. People flock to witness her miracles but terrifying events unfold. Sounds spooky!

Those are all the new releases but plenty of cinemas are showing some awards season films – the most popular listings are for Nomadland, Sound of Metal and Judas and the Black Messiah – new blockbusters like Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong as well as old classics.

If you feel comfortable to do so, please go and support your local cinema when you can! I personally cannot wait to switch off my phone and devote my entire attention to a movie surrounded my like-minded film fans.

My top 10 movies of 2017

A lot of people have been doing their end of year lists since the start of December, but I like to wait a little longer just in case there is a late entry – I thought The Greatest Showman might have made it (it didn’t) – so here are my top 10 films of 2017.

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Wind River: Film Review 

I love Elizabeth Olsen, I think she is excellent in every role (especially in indies) and she didn’t disappoint in Wind River, a riveting murder mystery.

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Baby Driver European premiere: My Pics

Another day, another premiere! Haven’t had two in one week in ages! Anyway, tonight the stars of Baby Driver came to London’s Leicester Square to promote the movie – check out who hit the pink and white carpet!

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Sicario: Film Review

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Sicario emerged as one of my ‘films to watch’ following its debut at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It had a lot of buzz and everyone has given it a stellar review, so wasn’t I impressed?! I was excited to see Emily Blunt in this ass-kicking agent role, but her performance is only a highlight as the rest of the film is confusing and nowhere near as good as I was hoping it would be.

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Film Review

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It is little surprise Me and Earl and the Dying Girl won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. This is what indie film is all about. It is quirky, cute, touching and I just loved it.

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We Are Your Friends: Film Review

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Before I start this review, I have to be upfront and honest about two things: I LOVE Zac Efron and I LOVE dance music. This definitely puts a bias on things and put the film in my favour before it had even started. So you will not be surprised to read that I really enjoyed it and I left wanting to go out dancing.

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Cannes Film Festival Round-up: What to see?

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The Cannes Film Festival is over for another year, so to say farewell, here is my rundown of films that I want to see immediately thanks to the buzz they received in France. Some have secured cinema distribution deals so us mortals who weren’t lucky enough to be in Cannes will be able to see them within the next year (which is still far too long away!)

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Fury: Film Review

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War movies are not usually my thing – and it is rare for me to find one that I actually enjoy. This film is great. It is no Saving Private Ryan nor does it reinvent the genre but it offers a fresh perspective and was superbly cast.

Brad Pitt is ‘Wardaddy”, a sergeant who leads a five-man tank team sweeping through German towns during the tail end of World War II in 1945. The film opens the crew heading back to camp as one of their men has died and they need a replacement. They are given Norman (Logan Lerman), who is young, naive and afraid. The roughened team – consisting of ‘Bible’ (Shia LaBeouf), ‘Gordo’ (Michael Pena) and ‘Coon Ass’ (Jon Bernthal) – give him a tough time to harden him to the brutal reality of war.

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