We haven’t seen Angelina like this in years
Those Who Wish Me Dead is many things - a suspenseful thriller, a chase movie, a man vs wild adventure, and a film that comes in at a tight 90 minutes (hallelujah).
But it's probably most notable as the first non-children's movie Angelina Jolie has released in six years. Just in case we forgot what a formidable screen presence she is, here she is to remind us as Hannah, a gritty veteran smokejumper in the vast woods of Montana.
She has a recent past trauma haunting her days - a terrible tragedy in which she feels she failed at her job, leading to the loss of lives. Stationed alone in a lookout tower, the isolation is atonement.
When she stumbles across a bloodied young boy, Connor (Finn Little), lost in the woods, it's a chance at redemption, even if she doesn't know it yet.
Connor chanced upon Hannah while on the run from two deadly, well-resourced assassins, Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult), who were hired to kill Connor's father Owen (Jake Weber), a forensic accountant who came across evidence of corruption and malfeasance.
Owen was fleeing to his brother-in-law Ethan (Jon Bernthal), a sheriff, survivalist and former flame of Hannah's.
Co-written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, who penned the scripts for Sicario and Hell or High Water and helmed Wind River, Those Who Wish Me Dead is based on Michael Koryta's novel. Koryta also co-wrote the script with Charles Leavitt.
Those Who Wish Me Dead has a very simple premise, which essentially sandwiches all the protagonists between deadly assassins and a raging forest fire which is as indiscriminately fatal as the two men with loaded guns and no scruples.
It shares some traits of the on-the-run conspiracy thriller genre that was particularly popular in the 1990s - think The Pelican Brief, The Net, Enemy of the State - but it's fuzzy on the conspiracy details.
Instead, Those Who Wish Me Dead relies on the action and the threat of its gargantuan environment - those tinder-dry Montana woods - to dial up the intensity.
Sheridan generously uses close-ups to be in his character's emotional space, but also loves a wide landscape shot to take full advantage of the natural environment.
Like his shot choices, there's also a decent balance between fevered action set-pieces and reprieves with quiet moments - though hard-core action junkies might've wished for more. It's in those quiet moments that Jolie reminds us of her range, to kick arse one moment and to be emotionally present the next.
Sheridan has also course-corrected some of the criticisms of Wind River in terms of violence against female bodies or putting women characters in jeopardy. In Those Who Wish Me Dead, the most fearsome fighters are women, including Ethan's pregnant wife, Allison (Medina Senghore).
Those Who Wish Me Dead has a tendency to veer into the over-sentimental and it has an ending that is heart-on-its-sleeve earnest.
But this taut, contained story with well-directed action is as an effective thriller.
Those Who Wish Me Dead is in cinemas now
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Originally published as We haven't seen Angelina like this in years