Reviewed by: Chelsea Annette Rivera
CONTRIBUTOR—first time reviewer
Father and son relationship
Boy loses his mother to cancer and later sees his father murdered
What is DEATH? and WHY does it exist? Answer in the Bible
Being orphaned at a young age
About ORPHANS in the Bible
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Fighting for survival in wilderness against murderers / assassins
Life of smokejumpers / firefighters
People impersonating utility workers
Danger of storms and lightning
Being struck by lightning
About LIGHTNING in the Bible
What is lightning good for? Answer
Child in peril
Angelina Jolie … Hannah
Finn Little … Connor
Jon Bernthal … Ethan
Nicholas Hoult … Patrick
Aidan Gillen … Jack
Jake Weber … Owen
Medina Senghore … Allison
Tyler Perry … Arthur
Boots Southerland … Sheriff
Tory Kittles … Ryan
James Jordan … Ben
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|Director||Taylor Sheridan—“Wind River”|
BRON Studios [Canada]
Creative Wealth Media Finance [Canada]
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New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures
This film is based on crime novelist Michael Koryta’s book of the same name.
This is definitely a movie that had me on the edge of my seat throughout. I saw it with my brother who’s at the moment in a school to be a firefighter; it kept his attention as well. It’s a movie that reminded me of a rollercoaster ride, and kept me hoping and rooting for the main characters to survive the turmoil.
There were moments when this film made me think of the 1994 movie “The Client” (Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon) and that is because the 12-year-old boy character Connor has something in common with Mark (Brad Renfro), the main character in“ The Client.” Both of them never seemed to catch a break. In “The Client,” Mark witnesses the suicide of a famous Mob lawyer, and later on the Mob is coming him. However, in “Those Who Wish Me Dead” Connor’s father is shot to death, and the bad guys are out to kill him because he is a witness and they are worried about what else he might know.
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” is not only a coming of age story but also a tale of survival and about overcoming one’s inner demons (fear, anxiety and feelings of guilt). When we first meet smokejumper Hannah (Angelina Jolie) it is in the beginning of the movie where we see her at her job (there’s are a few seconds of someone on fire) before she wakes up screaming in her bed.
Later on, she jumps off of the back of a pickup truck and pulls her parachute ripcord (risky behavior). Like Hannah, I struggled with mental health, and like her I blamed myself for traumatic things that happened to me in the past, and like Hannah in one scene she harms herself with a knife. That is something I used to do along with others who struggle with depression and anxiety, my inner demons.
SELF-MUTILATION—Help for Cutters (and others who self-injure in some way)
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer
I dealt with trauma, but mine was abuse from my alcoholic father before he was kicked out for good. Like Hannah I struggled with guilt over what happened and I think that’s something a lot of audiences can relate to and resonate with on different levels.
My favorite part of the movie is when Hannah and Connor are going to run downhill during a lightning storm. She’s going to tell him when to stop and they’ll take turns evading the lightning bolts. As they run, it appears that the lightning hits her, and Connor runs to her and says sadly, “No, no, please,” before Hannah tells him that it isn’t his fault, until she realizes that Connor is talking about his father that he witnessed being murdered. He is crying and crying against her, and she comforts him, holding him and telling him to let it out.
I know what it feels like to hold on to negative emotions too long, and the need to let them out when you feel like bawling your eyes out for whatever reason—in a healthy way instead of with self harm. A verse that comes to mind is Psalms 56:8 which suggests that tears are prayers too, they communicate to GOD when we can’t speak.
Another verse that made me think of Hannah and myself is Jeremiah 31:3, along with Matthew 11:28, which also made me think of Connor.
“…I have loved you with an everlasting love…”
Then Jesus said,
“Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28 NLT
I loved the dynamic between Hannah and Connor throughout the movie. In various ways, she becomes a “mother figure” to Connor as the story progresses. Both of them are overcoming their turmoils. In Connor’s case, it is the trauma of his father’s murder and the aftermath. In Hannah’s case, it is the perceived guilt of not having being able to save three boys. The fact that she’s able to help Connor gives her a sense of redemption. The story has murderous men coming after them throughout, and after Connor’s uncle Ethan and his pregnant wife.
Hannah teaches Connor how to survive, and they learn to help and trust each other, along with loving each other.
Proverbs 27:9 reminds me of the film’s two protagonists.
“…A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” —The Message Bible (excerpt)
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” —Psalms 32:8 NIV
The emotional journey Hannah and Connor experience is something many can relate to.
During a fight with the assassins one of them tells Connor that he is going to show him what happens when he runs and hides. Like Connor, I hid a lot growing up when I was scared of my father. There have been times when I hid under my desk in the classroom when I was 4 because I was afraid of my teacher. I struggled with fear for so long.
Something that Connor goes through is being unable to trust others. Many have struggled with mental health in our lives, and many have come from a traumatic environment in broken homes.
Her are some verses that mirror this movie in so some ways and also mirror what I wrote regarding the movie.
… “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. … —Isaiah 43:1-3 ESV excerpt
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; —2 Corinthians 4:8-9 KJV
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” —Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
GOD can restore what is broken and change it into something that is amazing. Have faith in Him. He…
…comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble… —2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV excerpt
Although the story is well-acted, emotional, has some morally uplifting moments and is of high technical quality, there are issues of concern for followers of Christ.
VIOLENCE— This film’s violence is definitely a red flag for viewer caution, especially for those particularly sensitive to violence. This is a sample of the violence that occurs. People are killed or wounded using fire, a car, knife, a pickaxe, a sledgehammer, rifle, and abundant machine gun fire. The boy’s dad is shot dead (slightly bloody), and his uncle is also shot. Bad guys shoot a woman, and although it’s quick we do see a bit of blood. A woman is repeatedly punch and her face beaten bloody. One of the bad guys is shot to death, and another, after losing a fight with Hannah (who used her sledgehammer), he is burned to death, and we hear him screaming. Note: This was a part where I closed my eyes. One of the bad guys violently interrogates a man’s wife and after finding out she used a distress signal word, he beats her until she uses something to light him on fire (another part where I closed my eyes).
Scripture clearly says…
…rid yourselves of all… obscene speech from your mouth —Colossians 3:8 NASB excerpt
LANGUAGE— The very frequent, vulgar and unnecessary use of the f-word is a strong issue for purity-minded Christians (at least 80 uses). There are also more than a dozen uses of the s-word along with “A**hole” (2), “Pr*ck,” “F***ing d*ck.” GOD’s name is taken in vain (“J*sus Chr*st,” “G*d d*mn” (3 times), plus 2 other objectionable uses of “G*d”).
SEXUALITY/NUDITY— There is a brief kiss. A male smokejumper says he would like a “threesome.” Hannah jokes, “I do not have sex with men I’ve seen sh*t in the woods.” We briefly see Angelina Jolie in a bra. She tells the boy Connor that campfires are like catnip for teenage girls, allowing him to kiss them, and that someday he’ll be in a mansion with a hot blonde. There a couple vulgar comments made with sexual innuendos. Also, Hannah plays a tongue-twisting word game with Connor that involves frequent repetition of the F-word, including “motherf***er.”
I loved the film’s ending, and am pretty curious as to what a sequel would be like.
Cleaner alternative viewing choices with somewhat similar situations (a boy in deadly peril) include 1984’s PG-rated “Cloak and Dagger” (based on the short story The Boy Cried Murder) and 1994’s PG-13 “The Client.”
Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions
Every time you buy a movie ticket or buy or rent a video you are in effect casting a vote telling Hollywood, “I’ll pay for that. That’s what I want.” Read our article
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.