Those Who Wish Me Dead (2020)

Quick synopsis: A smokejumper helps protect a child from gangsters after they kill his parents

I watched this film two days ago and it’s already left my mind. That’s the trouble with this film, nothing about it stands out. It’s so incredibly bland that nothing sticks. You watch stuff happen, but you don’t retain it, and to be honest you don’t care. I’m not sure why as it’s an interesting story, the performances are fine and there’s no issues with the way the film is directed. There’s just nothing in it that stands out. It’s a shame as everybody here is really good at their job. It makes you realise that Angelina Jolie is really good at what she does, her performance as a smokejumper has enough hints at a backstory that you sympathise with her, and her motivations make sense. But it is still kind of standard movie character.

Maybe it’s because of how dated the whole thing feels. It has the air of a 90s film for some reason, the kind of thing that Kevin Costner would be in and you’d rent from the video store on the weekend. It’s trying to be a crime drama and a disaster flick but doesn’t really mesh the two that well. It doesn’t feel like they’re going together in a good way. Really it just feels like they’re getting in the way of each other. Maybe if it focused more on one aspect than the other it would have worked, as it is it feels like the two are fighting each other for screen-time, and they both lose.

I’m not saying delete one of the areas, as it’s based on a book which I’m presuming has both, so deleting one would have meant lessening the film. Maybe you need to make it a bit longer? It’s 100 minutes long, and I consider 90 minute films to be very short, and that extra ten minutes isn’t really adding much. I’m not saying this needs to be a five hour epic, but pushing two hours would give enough aspect of the film time to breathe. To be honest though, even that might not be enough. This film has quite a few side characters who I feel were better explored in the book. So really the best way to tell this story is probably a mini-series. As it is everything feels underdeveloped and kind of (dare I say) dull.

It also feels incredibly safe. There’s not many things that will surprise you and it’s almost like it’s meant for someone to walk in half way through and be able to catch up immediately. So in summary, it’s not as though you have to avoid this, but there’s nothing in it that means you have to see it either. The only way I’m going to watch this film again is in a few years time when I’ve forgotten I’ve already seen it. And I think it won’t be until about halfway through that I remember.

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