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Hall reviews Those who wish me dead
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Those who wish me dead

This week on Justin Hall at the movies," I'll be reviewing Angelina Jolie as she protects a young boy from dangerous criminals in "Those Who Wish Me Dead."

Those Who Wish Me Dead is a competently made thriller that gets points largely for Angelina Jolie's winning, committed performance and some genuinely thrilling sequences that earn their moments.

Jolie stars as Hannah Faber, a fire fighter in Montana who now takes up a position in a watchtower. She encounters a young boy in the woods (Finn Little) who is trying to escape from a couple of assassins (Nicholas Hoult and Aiden Gillen) who just murdered his father. From this point on, Hannah is protective mode as she safely guides the boy.

Joining the pursuit is Hannah's ex-boyfriend and sheriff (Jon Bernathan) who despite moving on from Hannah is still willing to lend a helping hand even though is going to be a father himself. This plot thread might seem like it's generic, but it does add credibility due to another committed performance in the form of Berthanal who is fleshed out and given enough screen time.

The rest of the movie does follow a formula that does take it into predictability territory, but moments such as Jolie using her firefighter skills to evade the assassins are used in clever ways that advance the plot instead of using it as an excuse to create a bloated action sequence.

Those Who Wish Me Dead was directed and cowritten by Taylor Sheridan of Sicario and Yellowstone and like those, he offers a sense of gritty reality into his storytelling punctuated by violence that feels brutal and intense.

The sequences involving Jolie and Little are effective and their interplay adds enough human drama and tension to hold this screenplay together.

The only quibble I have is that the ending retreats to formula because pretty much any plot having to do with a child and an unknown protector, we know how it will turn out.

Nevertheless, Sheridan, Jolie, and the rest of the cast make this red-hot thriller scorch.

Grade: B+

(Rated R for strong violence and language throughout.)

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