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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Kaboom!In a family emergency, a forensic accountant in Florida goes to hide out with his brother a sheriff in Montana, taking with him his school-age son Sammy (14-year-old Finn Little.) His D.A. boss's house was seen torched on TV presumably for the know­ledge they both share. Park County Sheriff Ethan (Jon Bernthal) lives with his pregnant wife Allison (Medina Senghore) who runs the Suda Butte Survival School in Montana.

When his dad pulls over for a pit stop, Sammy investigates a big grass­hopper on the fence. Survival school would have taught him these are edible in a pinch, but he's not hungry; he's just playing with his food. Then he breaches the fence to stroke a grazing horse. Horses can bite if they're ornery, but this one seems mellow enough. They've also got powerful rear legs—like a grass­hopper's—that can kick doing serious damage, but Sammy is careful not to walk behind it. He'd be familiar with the horse at the survival school. His stuck-in-the-office dad, though, is overly nervous on his behalf.

The hit squad waylays them on a mountain road, and Sammy escapes with the incriminating documents his dying father left him along with the instruction to give them to the news media, not to the authorities—who couldn't protect his boss. He's supposed to find a town and someone who is “trustworthy.” How can even an adult tell whom to trust? As novelist Chris Pavone puts it:

“Is there such a thing?”

“Of course there is.”

“Really? Being completely natural, completely unguarded? No guile, no artifice, no agenda, no disin­genuous­ness or dishonesty of any sort?”

“You've never been married?”

“Is that right?” She actually laughs at him. “You're completely honest with your wife?”

“I used to be.”

“Bullshit. Everyone is acting all the time. Smiling and laughing, great to meet you, that's awe­some. Wearing this and not that, keeping quiet when you want to scream, saying things you know aren't true. You do it every day, Will, and you did it before you ever met me. We all do. That's what keeps society going. That's what life is. Acting.” (208)


The movie indeed opens with bad guys Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) impersonating fire inspectors to gain entrance to the D.A.'s house, the white house­wife trusting the white officials. They get a different kind of reception when they tried that ploy with black survival school house­wife Allison; she was having none of it. Gee!

She and a female fire fighter Hannah (Angelina Jolie) stationed on a nearby tower were the two women looking out for the kid's welfare. The former is the white sheriff's black wife and the latter his white ex girl­friend. That tells us he chose the black chick over the white. They are different kinds of women.

pencilHannah is the good sport, getting drunk at a gathering and attempting a stunt the guys were razzing her about. She was not perceived as a sex object by the firemen. When she was busted by the sheriff (“Arrest me,”) he's a real prick about it as if he's got a pencil stuffed up his arse. Also Hannah when marching through the woods with the boy, she leads him in an off-color rhyme cadence of the sort to keep children's spirits up.

Black Allison is a horse of a different color. No horsing around for her; her horse is a working beast whinnying for its neglect. When coerced to call her husband about the boy, she suggests he must be hungry (“That's a distress word.”) Choosing hunger as their safety word precludes its use in the ordinary sense. A real drag if you want to drop a hint about dinner. What she's got going for her, and presumably why Ethan picked her, is her hyped up sexuality. She's pregnant indicating she's sexually available to her husband, and she's demonstrably affectionate with the man when he returns home from his rounds. A real winner, that one.

Writer Bodie Hodge (134) quotes “Bible Questions and Answers,” The Golden Age (July 24, 1929): p. 702.

Question: Is there anything in the Bible that reveals the origin of the Negro?

Answer: It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the Black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren,” he pictured the future of the Colored race.

plowingNoah's father Lamech had (Gen. 5:29) “called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.” (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” After the flood one day, Noah took some leisure time, stripped down, and got drunk in his tent where he was discovered by his youngest son Ham who complained about it to his two older brothers (Gen. 9:20-23). Ham was perturbed that his father had gotten naked with­out setting about to procreate as God commanded—Yes, Noah sired no more children after the flood. Ham also didn't like his father taking a recess from rebuilding the wrecked world. Noah's rejoinder was along the lines of, “Oy! Vey! You want we should have children and work harder? Okay, your little ones can be slaves to your brothers'. Oy! Vey!” (Gen. 9:24-27). For the record Cush was one of Ham's sons (Gen. 10:6), settling in Africa. Cush is Hebrew for black.

In our movie an upper echelon suit tells the hit men to be thorough (“You missed the boy.”) He is African-American. The conspiracy remains a background mystery otherwise.

Production Values

” (2021) was directed by Taylor Sheridan. Its screenplay was written by Michael Koryta and Charles Leavitt based on a novel by Michael Koryta. It stars Angelina Jolie and Finn Little. Jolie did well in her tailored fire fighter role as one of the boys. Little was a good child actor playing a boy under stress. Aidan Gillen & Nicholas Hoult made believable nasties. Jon Bernthal was the sheriff caught between a rock and a hard place. Medina Senghore plays one black bitch you don't want to cross.

MPAA rated it R for strong violence, and language through­out. The fire looked so real it was scary. Beautiful wilderness cinema­tog­raphy was courtesy of Ben Richardson. Editing wasn't always up to snuff. The villains had no soul.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This film jumps right into the action with both feet and puts the boy in a pickle. The kid really needs a mother, and maybe he'll get one at the end. It's a cruel world out there. Movies might help us cope.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

Pavone, Chris. The Travelers. Copyright © 2016 by Christopher Pavone. New York: Crown Publishers, First Edition. Print.