|Those Who Wish Me Dead|
|Directed by||Taylor Sheridan|
|Based on||Those Who Wish Me Dead|
by Michael Koryta
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Edited by||Chad Galster|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$1.2 million|
Those Who Wish Me Dead is a 2021 American neo-Western action thriller film directed by Taylor Sheridan with a screenplay by Michael Koryta, Charles Leavitt, and Sheridan, based on Koryta's novel of the same name. The film follows a teenager (Finn Little) who witnesses the murder of his father and goes on the run with a smokejumper (Angelina Jolie) in the Montana wilderness to escape a pair of assassins (Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen) hired to silence him; Jon Bernthal, Medina Senghore, and Jake Weber also star.
Those Who Wish Me Dead was released in several international countries on May 5, 2021, followed by in the United States on May 14, by Warner Bros. Pictures under the New Line Cinema banner, both in theaters and digitally for one month on HBO Max. The film received praise from critics for Sheridan's direction and the performances, particularly Jolie's, but criticism for the plot and screenplay.
Hannah Faber, a smokejumper, is struggling after three young boys were killed in a forest fire she failed to prevent. She is now posted in a Fire lookout tower in the middle of a forest. Meanwhile, Owen Casserly, a forensic accountant, learns about the death of his boss and his family in an apparent gas explosion; they were actually murdered by brothers and assassins Jack and Patrick Blackwell.
Believing he is next to be targeted, he goes on the run with his son, Connor, to seek refuge with his brother-in-law, Ethan Sawyer, a Deputy Sheriff and Hannah's ex-boyfriend. They are ambushed by the Blackwells, who force them off the road and down a cliff by shooting at them. As Owen dies he gives Conner evidence against the Blackwell's employer, mob boss Arthur Phillip and tells him to escape, before being shot to death.
Ethan discovers Owen's car wreck. Meanwhile, Hannah stumbles upon Connor while out on patrol. Connor accompanies Hannah back to the tower to contact help. The Blackwells are instructed by Arthur to hunt Connor down and kill him. In order to distract the police, they use flares to start a forest fire. They go to Ethan's house believing Connor may have fled there and interrogate his pregnant wife, Allison, but she fights them off and escapes.
Discovering the radio at the tower disabled after a lightning strike, Hannah attempts to take Connor into town on foot, but is struck by lightning while crossing a field. They turn back when the fire blocks their path. Ethan returns home with the Sheriff after having been alerted by Allison in a call that something is wrong. The Blackwells kill the Sheriff and force Ethan to guide them through the woods.
They come across Hannah's tower and Ethan is forced into searching it while they watch from a tree. Having returned to the tower, Hannah and Connor hide while Ethan attempts to make it appear empty. However, Patrick notices Ethan talking and they start shooting into the tower, injuring Ethan, but Hannah and Connor manage to escape. The Blackwells try to follow them but are stopped when Allison, having tracked them down, starts shooting at them. Patrick and Jack split up, with Patrick going after Hannah and Connor, and with Jack trying to kill Allison; however, she kills him.
Connor runs ahead while Hannah distracts Patrick, but Connor returns after Patrick almost kills her. A struggle ensues, and Hannah injures Patrick and leaves him to burn to death in the approaching fire. Allison reunites with Ethan in the tower, but they are trapped by the fire; they put on oxygen masks and hold each other as it surrounds them. Hannah and Connor are able to escape by jumping into a stream and watch from under the water as the fire engulfs the forest.
In the morning after the fire has burned out, the survivors are saved when Hannah's old smoke-jumping team arrives to rescue her, Connor, and Allison; Ethan had died from his earlier injuries. Later, as rescue services and television crews arrive, Connor prepares to give his father's evidence to the media while being comforted by Hannah, who promises to help him through his uncertain future.
It was announced in January 2019 that Angelina Jolie would star in the film, with Taylor Sheridan writing and directing, and Tyler Perry producing. By April, Nicholas Hoult, Tyler Perry, Jon Bernthal, and Aidan Gillen were among new cast who joined the film. Filming began in May 2019 in New Mexico, with production concluding in July 2019, and it being announced James Jordan had been cast. The film's score was composed by Brian Tyler.
In May 2019, it was announced Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema acquired distribution rights to the film. It was released on May 14, 2021. As part of its plans for all of its 2021 films, Warner Bros. will also stream the film simultaneously on the HBO Max service for a period of one month, after which the film will be removed until the normal home media release schedule period. It had a theatrical debut internationally in South Korea on May 5, 2021.
In the United States and Canada, Those Who Wish Me Dead was released alongside Spiral, and is projected to gross $4–5 million from 3,188 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $880,000 on its first day.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 63% of 114 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A squarely traditional '90s-style action thriller, Those Who Wish Me Dead is elevated by Taylor Sheridan's propulsive direction." According to the review aggregator Metacritic, which sampled 32 reviews and calculated a weighted average of 58 out of 100, Those Who Wish Me Dead received "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Writing for Variety, Peter Debruge said: "As directed by Taylor Sheridan, Those Who Wish Me Dead offers a much bigger sandbox for the gifted actor-turned-action maven, whose scripts for Sicario and Hell or High Water have launched him to the front of a genre dominated by CG robots, superheroes and other IP once associated with Saturday morning cartoons. Such movies are plenty popular, but this one marks a welcome departure — one intended for grown-ups seeking more 'realistic' diversion — without shortchanging audiences when it comes to either spectacle or sound." Alonso Duralde of TheWrap wrote: "The stakes are high and the danger is always imminent in this straightforward thriller; it never bends the rules of the genre, but it certainly delivers on what it promises."