Those Who Wish Me Dead: Not As Sizzlin’ As It Looks

You know you’re watching a Taylor Sheridan film when Jon Bernthal appears onscreen.

REPPED: You wanna know who gives the best performance in the film? It’s not Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, or Jon Bernthal. It’s Medina Senghore as Jon Bernthal’s wife, Allison Sawyer. Who would’ve thought the pregnant housewife would be a more interesting protagonist than Angelina Jolie? The marketing had Angelina Jolie all over it and while she does a fine job, this should have been Senghore’s movie. Right from the start, you assume Senghore would be nothing more than a damsel in distress but Sheridan does a great job of subverting that expectation by making her character an actual badass. She’s not written to be an overpowered killing machine, but as a relatable character who’s able to handle herself. In a lot of ways, you could compare this character to action heroes like Sarah Connor and John McClane who are working class average joes placed in outlandish circumstances. I’m putting a lot of stock in Medina Senghore because I think she has potential to grow into a bigger action star.

NEGGED: Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen are so inept at their job that they’d be perfect for a Home Alone film! These are some terribly written antagonists who are outsmarted at every turn. Both are terrific actors and it’s great seeing Nicholas Hoult taking on more sinister roles, but their menace starts to dissipate the further along the movie goes. Aidan Gillen and Ben Mendelsohn need to be in a movie where they play nice guys because all of their recent film roles have them playing the same type of villain! I’m not looking for a Heath Ledger performance in a film like this, but the villain should be formidable enough to challenge the protagonist as well as to keep the audience on edge. They’re thankless roles but Hoult and Gillen do the best with what they’re given, which isn’t very much.

FINAL VERDICT: In a time when superheroes dominate the filmmaking landscape, we still have directors like Taylor Sheridan who are able to make films like Those Who Wish Me Dead which focus on the working class average joe as opposed to the larger than life beefcake that fills our screens today. Those Who Wish Me Dead is uneven and never seems to have a consistent focus on any particular character, but the thrills are there and it’s nice to see Angelina Jolie star in a film like this before she ventures off with Marvel. If you’re in the mood for an old-school action thriller with a breakout performance from Medina Senghore, then you should absolutely give this one a watch.

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