Those Who Wish Me Dead
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Finn Little, Jon Bernthal, Aidan Gillen, Nicholas Hoult, Jake Weber, Medina Senghore, Tyler Perry, Boots Sutherland.
As much as one would like to laud Angelina Jolie in Those Who Wish Me Dead on BookMyShow Stream, it is Finn Little who steals the show, playing 12-year-old Connor Casserly. In a film helmed by Sheridan Taylor (better known for his writing credits, Sicario for one), Little, who is actually 14, is really a baby lost in the woods that is on fire. It is one of those manmade catastrophes, and a large forest is in raging flames, and smokejumper Hannah Faber( Jolie, looking really pretty even in her worst moments) finds him as she herself is escaping from her watchtower.
Casserly’s father, an accountant who has found a dark secret in a firm’s books, is killed, when he and his boy are trying to speed away in their car, which overturns and falls off a cliff. In his dying moments, he gives a sheet of paper to Casserly – who escapes the crash and hides in the woods — asking him to hand it over to one he trusts.
So, the first question that comes to his lips when he meets Faber is, can I trust you. There is something about Faber which endears him to her, who is struggling with her own demons, feeling guilty having failed to save three boys and a colleague in a forest fire.
There is never a dull moment in the movie as Faber and Casserly run through the dark jungle with fire and fumes chasing them. Equally deadly are the two assassins of his father who are hell-bent on finishing the boy and destroying the last shred of evidence he is carrying.
A subplot involves the local sheriff Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal) and his pregnant wife Allison (Medina Senghore), who earlier wards off the killers by telling them about the baby. Later, one of them would tell Sawyer that he did not have the heart to kill a pregnant woman.
If I reveal anything more about the story, it would take away the thrill, and Those Who Wish Me Dead runs like a wish fulfilment. We want the good to live, and the bad to go, but yes the film does throw up surprises and shocks.
It is based on a popular novel by the same name penned by Michael Koryta. He wrote the script as well, but a lot of it has been changed by Sheridan. The runtime of 99 minutes whizzes past with splendid special effects and memorable performances. Jolie is magnificent, as usual. Her face conveys the anguish of having failed to save the boys and the man, and later, the anxiety that comes with trying to save Casserly not only from the angry fire but also the ruthless murderers. However, as I said in the beginning, Little walks away with cake; his emotive curve arcs brilliantly. Look at the way his eyes well up, and watch his face when he asks Faber, what will I do now. Indeed a fine piece of acting, a part of the credit must go to the director. But of course!
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is a movie critic and Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s biographer)