Angelina Jolie is at that point in her career where she doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. Actually, she’s been at that point in her career for quite some time now, but has focused on her personal life as opposed to her professional one. I don’t really get into the personal lives’ of stars, but I think she’s got a litter of children either by biological means or adoption. Hey, whatever the case, good for her. Her notable film roles in the last few years are relegated some voiceover work in the Kung Fu Panda films and her (admittedly) good turns as Maleficent. But she’s back. And this time she’s teamed up with Taylor Sheridan, director of the amazing Wind River (and if you’ve not seen that film, don’t want this one and watch that one instead). Let’s see if the results are the same.
Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is a smoke jumper and if you don’t know what that is, you’re in good company as I had no clue. Thankfully they explain it. She’s been relegated to tower dury due to a breakdown of sorts she had on the job. She wasn’t able to save three kids during a forest fire and it’s affected her. While out in the forest, she encounters Connor (Finn Little), a boy running from two assassins: Jack (Aiden Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult). They’ve figured out that Connor is somewhere in the woods and in an attempt to find him, start a massive fire to flush him out. Makes sense. And if you’re wondering why these two assassins are looking for the kid in the first place, well that makes two of us. That’s a pretty big plot hole.
There are a number of things that work well in this film. I somewhat dig these “nature” flicks if you can call this one that. If not, well…I still dig Angelina Jolie. She’s got a good ensemble cast with Jon Bernthal, Nicholas Hoult and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo by Tyler Perry (yes, that one). But even with all the right pieces in place, there are just too many things that don’t work and/or add up. The plot hole is one, the seemingly endless string of coincidences is another (Bernthal’s character happens to work for the local sheriff’s department and his wife just happens to be pregnant and they also run a survival training facility. Wow, talk about fortune favoring the bold! That said, Taylor Sheridan is a competent director and certainly the cast isn’t to blame. The pieces are in place, but everything’s off by just enough where this wasn’t a good use of my time. I really wanted it to be.
Video: How’s it look?
I would imagine when you see a forest fire, you’d want the screen to showcase as much of it as possible. Having never seen one in person (and I intend to keep that record intact), I can’t really say how “accurate” this is, but that’s neither here nor there. The 2.39:1 AVC HD image leaves little to the imagination. Detail is exceptional, I felt as if I could count each pine needle on every tree. Colors are strong, contrast is rock solid, etc. you know the drill. Honestly, no complaints from me here.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I remarked in my digital review of this film that I’d assumed this would have the same Dolby Atmos track that it did when I first viewed it on HBO Max. Well, that’s what happens when you assume. What we’ve got is a similarly robust DTS HD Master Audio mix. Vocals are sharp as a tack, ambient surround and atmospheric effects fill the room with an aura that really draws the viewer in. The LFE do get some play time as well. I was impressed. Or is this the future! Nevertheless, it’s a great-sounding track that easily satisfies.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Oddly, while on HBO Max, this featured a trio of supplements. None of which are on this disc. Go figure.
Making Those Who Wish Me Dead – The disc’s only supplement is your standard “Making of…” faire with interviews with the cast and crew, some history of the story as well as some behind the scenes footage. Nothing mind-blowing here, folks.
The Bottom Line
My comments above, aside, you could do a lot worse than Those Who Wish Me Dead. It’s not “bad” by any stretch. It’s just inconsistent. But the strong cast nearly manages to save it. It’s nice to see Jolie in something different and she pulls it off. The best moments are between her and Connor’s character. She’s had some experience with children.