If you didn’t know any better, you might actually think that this book has been written by someone who has a rather twisted sense of humor. But then again, let’s not forget that this is a satirical book, and it is entirely plausible that Matthew McConaughey’s character would have such an offbeat sense of humor. The book is a collection of “true” stories that Matthew McConaughey claims he has heard throughout his career as a Texas Ranger.

Today we will talk about the great movie Those Who Wish Me Dead, a movie with a lot of action that will surprise you with it’s realistic and violent story that will keep you interested until the very end. The movie is about two brothers, Daniel and Jonah, who have a bad reputation in the town of Glade. In the wild west, the town of Glade depends on the railroad for everything they need. Daniel and Jonah are part of a group of train robbers who rob the trains and get rich.

Those who want me dead

Director: Taylor Sheridan

Operating time: 100 minutes

Writer-director Taylor Sheridan has been very spontaneous in recent years. After the resounding success of the Denis Villeneuve-directed thriller Sicario (2015), which earned Sheridan a Screenwriters Guild of America Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, each of his subsequent projects demonstrated his distinctive protean qualities: The brother-sister story of theft and redemption in Hell or High Water (2016), the chilling indictment of criminal justice in Wind River (2017), and the broken bonds of place and parenthood in Yellowstone (2018-present).

While Sicario’s ill-fated sequel, Day of the Soldier (2018), may have succumbed to Hollywood’s cynical desire to deliver needlessly redundant spiritual successors, Sheridan returns to his usual neo-Western saddle with his latest, directing with a mastery of story, character and narrative tone.

Based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Michael Koryta (who co-edited the screenplay with Sheridan and Charles Leavitt), Those Who Wish Me Dead is set in the rural mountain forests of wild Montana. Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie) is an experienced firefighter and jumper who is haunted by a traumatic incident in which a fatal miscalculation took the life of a colleague and three unfortunate children. After a failed post-traumatic psychiatric evaluation, Faber now suffers in silence, wandering alone through the woods during the day and watching the flames on the horizon at night, reclining in an isolated watchtower. Ethan Sawyer (John Bernthal), a former Faber and local town sheriff, watches from a distance, concerned about his mental state and his reckless signs of self-destructive behavior.

The action then shifts to Connor Casserly (Finn Little) and his father (Jake Weber) on the run from two deadly killers, Jack Blackwell (Aidan Gillen) and his son Patrick (Nicholas Hoult). Connor’s father has information on powerful people with good connections, and the Blackwells have been hired by corrupt officials to silence that information by mercilessly executing anyone who gets in their way, and even those unlucky enough to see their faces. While traveling from Florida to Montana to meet Sawyer, an old family friend and someone they think they can trust, Connor and his father are ambushed by the Blackwells, who quickly slaughter Connor’s father, but not before handing him a confession and ordering him to flee and hide in the woods.

When Faber finally confronts Connor and realizes the importance of her situation, she offers the boy refuge and decides to help him get the information about his father to the uncorrupted authorities. Wanting to literally lure Connor out of hiding, Blackwell’s assassins deliberately set fire to the forest, forcing Faber and Connor to flee once again to escape the inferno and outwit their deadly pursuers.

What makes Those Who Wish I Were Dead a successful and relatively formal thriller is Sheridan’s willingness to let the film breathe. Despite a modest running time of just 100 minutes and an airtight three-act structure, Sheridan does a great job of filling the film with quiet, reflective moments between characters and resonant images.

At one point, Connor climbs over the fence and engages in an intimate relationship with a horse that stands calm and serene in the middle of the arid Midwestern landscape. As Connor’s father recounts the dangers of his job as a forensic accountant and the reasons behind their decision to flee, the camera follows their journey along winding highways through lush mountains and endless grassy plains. As we see Faber in the depths of her grief and trauma, the film shifts from one to the other in sustained dreams and flashbacks, contrasting the raw emotional energy with the solemn natural setting, towering cliffs and ancient trees silently condemning the choices she will always regret.

Although Sheridan’s neo-Western style is clearly indebted to directors like the Coen brothers and writers like Cormac McCarthy, Those Who Wish Me Dead lacks the narrative complexity of No Country for Old Men (2007) – in both films, the protagonists reluctantly flee the forces of death that haunt them, albeit with very different motives. But this relative simplicity works to the film’s advantage: Settings and dialogues full of introspection and truthfulness are supported by the camaraderie of the workers and smokers and the cold, clinical rationality of Blackwell’s killers.

Famous stars like Jolie and Bernthal play the roles of Faber and Sawyer, respectively, but they spend little time together. But it is Little, a Brisbane-born Australian, who impresses with his subtle portrayal of Connor and is more than worthy of being considered a talented young actor. (Observant viewers and followers of Sheridan’s discipline may also see several members of the Yellowstone film playing various supporting roles.)

Overall, Those Who Wish Me Dead is both a gripping drama and an exciting blockbuster. The film’s inevitable moments of tense action and kinetic tension are most impressive when they follow warm scenes of sparse landscapes. Although the third act gets a little thin towards the end, with a messy denouement and a slight regression in the realism of the forest fires, Sheridan is clearly a master of his craft and returns in fine form.


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