The second feature film – third if you want to count Vile (2011) which was never recognized as his directive – directed by Taylor Sheridan after Wind River (2017), Those Who Wish Me Dead , tells the story of an accidental meeting between a member of the forest fire special forces, Hannah Faber ( Angelina Jolie ), and a boy named Connor Casserly ( Finn Little ). Unfortunately, the meeting did not take place under favorable conditions. Connor Casserly has just witnessed his father, Owen Casserly ( Jake Weber), was murdered and is currently on the run from two of his father’s killers, Patrick Blackwell ( Nicholas Hoult ) and Jack Blackwell ( Aidan Gillen ), who are now also after his life. Knowing the tragedy experienced by the child he had just met, Hannah Faber began to devise a plan to be able to save him.
As shown in the scripts of the films he worked on, starting from Sicario (2015) and its sequels Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018), Hell or High Water (2016), as well as Wind River which marked his directorial debut, Sheridan is a figure who has capable capability in working on stories with elements of mystery that are able to give tension to the audience who witnessed them. Sheridan’s stories are also known for their subtle presentation of a number of social issues. Those Who Wish Me Dead may mark the first time Sheridan’s story has worked like a thrillerpurely with a story plot that tends to move straight without any additional layers of story. Not a big deal, of course, but Those Who Wish Me Dead also doesn’t feel like it has enough energy or suspense to make it a strong storytelling.
The script for the film, which Sheridan worked on together with Koryta and Charles Leavitt ( Warcraft , 2016) is presented with a series of conflicts and stories that make Those Who Wish Me Dead appear like similar films released decades ago. There is not much in-depth exposure, although this film also tries to provide ripples of conflict in the past of Hannah Faber’s character or through her relationship with the character of her co-worker and ex-lover, Ethan Sawyer ( Jon Bernthal).). None of the storytelling elements are able to execute really well, unfortunately. Most are just there to keep the movement of the film’s story telling without ever feeling like trying to make it leave a deeper impression. The same thing can also be felt from the line of characters who are present in the storyline of the film. Well-played by the actors, but the minimal characterization – if you don’t want to call it shallow – cannot add value to the overall quality of the film’s storytelling.
Even though it comes with a less biting story structure, the direction given by Sheridan at least can still produce interesting moments of thriller storytelling . Sheridan managed the storyline of Those Who Wish Me Dead reliably to keep the audience following the mystery that was presented. The cinematography support from Ben Richardson and the music composition by Brian Tyler also gives the right touch to the film’s atmosphere. Of course, the appearance of the film acting department filler became the strongest soul for the presentation of Those Who Wish Me Dead . Jolie played well. Likewise with the little actor Little who is able to bring chemistryclosely with Jolie while providing a strong performance to bring the character she plays to life. Gillen, Hoult, Weber, and Bernthal also succeeded in providing convincing acting performances but it was the appearance of Medina Senghore who played the wife of Bernthal’s character who was able to steal the attention with her slick acting. Not a special dish or impressive, but Those Who Wish Me Dead can still be a show worth watching.