Directed by Taylor Sheridan (‘Wind River’), ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ is an action drama that revolves around Hannah (Angelina Jolie), a smokejumper who fails to save three young boys from a wildfire. Guilt-ridden, she gradually starts to lose herself in drinking and self-harm. Meanwhile, a young boy named Connor (Finn Little) escapes from Jacksonville, Florida, with his father after his father’s boss is assassinated. Their aim is to get to Connor’s maternal uncle, Ethan (Jon Bernthal), a police officer in Montana.
However, Connor’s father is found and killed by two professional assassins, Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult). Connor manages to escape and runs into Hannah. After learning about his situation, Hannah decides to protect the boy from the killers and the terrifying forest fire they have started. Following its premiere, the film received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising its depiction of forest fire and the lives of smokejumpers. If you are wondering whether ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ is inspired by real-life events, this is what you need to know.
Is Those Who Wish Me Dead Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ is not based on a true story. It is the cinematic adaptation of American author Michael Koryta’s 2014 contemporary mystery novel of the same name. The film’s script was written by Koryta, Sheridan, and Charles Leavitt and differs significantly from the original book. For instance, the younger protagonist of the book is Jace, while, as mentioned above, he is Connor in the film.
After witnessing a murder, Jace enrolls at a wilderness skills program for troubled teens under a false identity. The program is run by Ethan and his wife, Allison. Hannah also appears in the book and is one of the main characters, but her participation is not as prominent as in the film. These changes likely happened due to Jolie’s involvement. While the story the film tells is fictional, its depiction of wildfire is quite accurate. The film shows that wildfires can gain speed, especially while moving up or downhill. It also depicts, albeit briefly, the dangerous lives that the smokejumpers lead.
In America, smokejumpers are a part of the forest service, a unit of wildland firefighters who receive exclusive training on how to deal with a wildfire after landing on a site with a parachute. The 1998 action-thriller film ‘Firestorm’ is another film that has a smokejumper as its protagonist. Set in northern Wyoming, the film tells the story of Jesse Graves (Howie Long), who must save Jennifer (Suzy Amis), an ornithologist, from an escaped group of convicts while simultaneously dealing with two wildfires.
Another important aspect of ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ involves professional assassins, corrupt politicians, and murdered government officials. Corruption is rampant everywhere, and America is no exception. Over the years, numerous members of Congress have been forced to resign after their illegal activities came to light. Some have even been sent to jail. It’s possible at least some of these influential and powerful people would hire assassins to kill anyone investigating them. So, it’s understandable that one may think that ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ is based on real-life events, but that is clearly not the case.
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