Taylor Sheridan has proven time and time again that he is the master of the modern western. Not only is he the creator of the hit series Yellowstone, but he's also written the widely applauded films Sicario, Hell or High Water, and Wind River. His latest undertaking, Those Who Wish Me Dead, is based on the novel by Michael Koryta and is currently streaming on HBO Max. Set in the Montana wilderness, it's an explosive thriller that will keep you entertained the entire way through. Sheridan directs the film as well as co-wrote the screenplay with Koryta and Charles Leavitt so you know it has the same level of action and drama as his other projects.
Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie stars in the film as Hannah Faber, a smokejumper (essentially a specially trained wildland firefighter), suffering from PTSD as the result of three young boys dying in a forest fire she wasn't able to contain. There's a lot going on with this plot and as the New York Times puts it, "The movie takes its time, but it also doesn't waste time."
Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult co-star as the Blackwells, two hitmen hunting down forensic accountant Owen Casserly (Jake Weber) and his son Connor (Finn Little). Tyler Perry makes a brief appearance as the bad guys' boss and Jon Bernthal plays Sheriff Ethan Sawyer, Owen's brother-in-law as well as Hannah's ex-boyfriend. It's all connected. There are multiple narratives going at once and they don't come together until halfway through the movie but it makes the build-up so worth it.
Connor eventually crosses paths with Hannah at the survival school Ethan runs with his pregnant wife, Allison (Medina Senghore), so Hannah will get a chance to redeem herself for the boys she lost in the forest fire. Though the movie filmed in New Mexico instead of Montana, you still get a captivating picture of what it's like for firefighters out in the forest and will definitely gain an entirely new level of respect for what they go through to save lives.
For Angelina Jolie, she found the intense training and education on the dangerous nature of the smokejumpers' jobs incredibly inspiring.
"To explore it with the director [Taylor Sheridan] that really knows and loves this part of the world and to get to know the firefighters, the smoke jumpers, the survivalists, the people that are in this part of America and to spend time with them and try to do our best to represent them on film -- just a huge amount of respect for them," Jolie told Fox News while promoting the film.
Jon Bernthal heartily agreed with his co-star.
"I think every project comes with this whole new kind of introduction to [a] world," he added. "I think human beings are tremendously fascinating and spend time in anyone else's world and try to explore the nooks and crannies of it... it's a real privilege; [a] real honor."
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