Taylor Sheridan has made a name for himself by writing or directing some of the best thrillers from the past decade, Sicario and Hell or High Water showcasing his writing before Wind River became one of the best directorial debuts I'd ever seen, his ability to place his characters in some of the most intense situations being something that has made me keen to seek out anything he's involved with moving forward. His latest, Those Who Wish Me Dead is another film to sit alongside those mentioned above and is sure to be one of the more memorable experiences with a film this year.

Pursued by Jack and Patrick Blackwell (Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult), two assassins who killed his father, Conner Casserly (Finn Little) meets veteran fire warden and wilderness survival expert Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie), who offers him shelter in her lookout tower. When the assassins set fire to the forest in order to find the pair, Faber and Casserly must both survive a deadly blaze that threatens to consume them, and outwit the killers on their trail.

Those Who Wish Me Dead is another gripping thriller from Taylor Sheridan, blisteringly paced as a raging forest fire tears towards Hannah and Conner in their attempt to escape the clutches of a pair of ruthless hitmen. I mean, it's not enough that they have to dodge bullets but Sheridan throws mother nature into the mix with the fire and even lightning blocking their route to safety. It's a setting that offers Sheridan an expansive playground and he has a lot of fun with it.

Alongside Sheridan, Michael Koryta and Charles Leavitt ensure that the film is set up perfectly for us to engage with its characters and a narrative that doesn't give you all the context however, when it becomes a battle for survival against such drastic odds, there isn't really any that needs to be given. Instead, we get a little insight into what is tormenting Jolie's Hannah and why the hitmen are after Conner, and it's enough to make the film an engrossing one.

Coming to the performances, Those Who Wish Me Dead features an impressive ensemble cast that makes a difference for a film like this. Attracting actors that have impressed throughout their careers excels the film to another level and it's led by a steely performance from Angelina Jolie, back to her best as a character where a traumatic event in her past drives her to protect Conner at all costs. Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult make for tough sons of bitches as the hitmen after Conner, who's played impressively by Finn Little, while fans of Jon Bernthal should rejoice at the fact he doesn't just disappear after five seconds of screentime, impressing in a role that still isn't the biggest but pivotal to the film. 

If you're looking for a film worth going back to the cinema for, Those Who Wish Me Dead is the perfect choice for a thrilling night back in front of the big screen. 

Verdict: ★★★★


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