Youngster in Jeopardy
Movies about children in jeopardy always get to me. And Those Who Wish Me Dead is no exception. Watching this riveting action thriller starring Oscar® winner Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted) and Australian Finn Little (Storm Boy) raised my blood pressure and held my complete attention from start to finish. But I have to admit being a Jolie fan for many years now. She almost never disappoints me. (In fact, I can think of only three times out of around 50 performances.)
I had the good fortune to interview Jolie at the beginning of her film career when she and Jonny Lee Miller were in San Diego on a press tour for Hackers. Although I consider it unprofessional to be photographed with the celebrities being interviewed, she convinced me to sit between her and Miller for a photo. Jolie is that persuasive!!! And from that day on I have followed her incredible journey to movie stardom.
This time Jolie portrays Hannah, a storm jumper who feels guilty for not saving some lives in her latest forest fire experience. Hannah gets another chance when she discovers Connor, a youngster (Little) who needs all the help he can get to escape the villains trying to kill him.
Two assassins chase a young boy.
Some evil plans they must deploy.
He carries secrets from his dad.
They’ve murdered him and boy is sad.
Through forest fires the lad runs fast.
A woman finds him; she’s help at last.
But she feels down from her mistakes.
You’ll see Jolie has what it takes.
Lara Croft not Maleficent
seems more like the role she was sent.
No glamor here right from the start.
She’s rough and sweats in this new part.
Young Finn Little also stands out.
A career boost for him, no doubt.
This action film boasts many thrills
and proves that fires can bring on chills.
Those Who Wish Me Dead offers terrifying scenes of forest fires and lots of violence involving the hitmen played by Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult. It’s especially tough viewing one particular scene where Jolie’s character suffers a brutal beating.
All of that is balanced by the tender relationship developing between Hannah and Connor as they try to outwit and outrun the assassins.
A subplot featuring Jon Bernthal and Medina Senghore -- as a courageous couple trying to help others as well as to survive the fiery disaster -- adds depth to the story, and both actors deliver excellent performances.
I must add that Finn Little is a real find! He can break your heart with just one sad look. He’s already earned praise for his work in Australia. Here’s hoping he gets many more important roles before he grows up.
(Released by New Line Cinema and available on HBO Max. Rated “R” by MPAA.)
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writers: Michael Koryta, Charles Leavitt, Taylor Sheridan
Based on the book by Michael Koryta