Remember Angelina Jolie? Tall, beautiful, lots of kids, won the Oscar for Girl, Interrupted? As it’s been six years since she last starred in a film as a human woman, devoting more and more of her time to her careers as a director and producer, the public may have forgotten – but now she’s back to refresh everyone’s memory as to why she was once among the world’s biggest movie stars.
She gets back to basics as the lead of Those Who Wish Me Dead, a neo-western from self-styled master of the form Taylor Sheridan. In the first trailer released today, she wrestles with guilt and overcomes it by finding new purpose in life, that is to say, she does some serious acting. Good to see her back doing what she does best.
She plays Hannah Faber, a wilderness survival expert with a background in firefighting, carrying around the survivor’s burden from a massive blaze she wasn’t there to help stop. She gets a second chance to make good when she encounters a blood-smeared teen on the run, having escaped the hail of gunfire that claimed his parents’ lives, and takes the boy in.
Trouble is, he’s pursued by a pair of twin assassins (Nicholas Hoult and Aiden Gillen) intent on killing the last witness and finishing the job, setting up a protracted chase across the Great Plains that Sheridan knows like the back of his hand. As Hannah cares for her delicate new charge, she’ll find redemption within herself in a broad recapitulation of the timeless oater “grizzled lifer turns over a new leaf with the help of child they’re defending” narrative.
The subtext of facing the trials of the past becomes regular-text as the brothers start a huge inferno to throw off Hannah’s campaign of protection, and she gets to relive a missed opportunity. Through the fire and flames, like a majestic phoenix, Jolie has risen again.
Those Who Wish Me Dead comes to theaters and HBO Max simultaneously on 14 May.
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