The Gold Coast Bulletin
Jolie’s all fired up
AFTER MORE THAN A DECADE BETWEEN FILMS ACTION ANGIE IS PULLING NO PUNCHES
THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD (M)
Director: Taylor Sheridan (Wind River).
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Finn Little, Aiden Gillen, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Bernthal.
A sparky Jolie relights her fire
It has been well over a decade since Angelina Jolie last flung herself across the screen in full-on action-heroine mode.
Therefore a majority of viewers could be forgiven for assuming she may perhaps take her time trying any of the rough stuff demanded by her comeback assignment, Those Who Wish Me Dead.
Ever the contrarian, Jolie isn’t having any of that.
Not long after we first sight her character in this hard-hitting drama, Jolie is suddenly traysurfing on the back of a ute travelling at high speed. Seconds later, she is being catapulted through the air at great velocity after pulling the ripcord on a backpack parachute.
Yes, Angelina Jolie means business in her big-screen return, and the traditional thriller she has chosen to put her name back up in lights certainly brings out her best.
She plays Hannah, a daredevil smoke jumper from the mountains of Montana who has been demoted to the rank of fire-spotter after a tragic incident during a blaze the previous summer.
Banished to the top of an observation tower with nothing but a set of binoculars, a fire axe and a box of tinned food at her disposal, Hannah looks resigned to enduring a few solid months of absolute boredom before she can resume active duty.
That is until she crosses paths with a young boy staggering through the woods in a state of distress. His name is Connor (an impressive display from Brisbaneborn rising star Finn Little) and just hours earlier, he saw his father die at the hands of two trained assassins.
Now the same hardline hit men are hunting Connor down before he can hand over damning evidence of the vast conspiracy that ended his dad’s life.
The dastardly duo gifted the seemingly perfunctory job of terminating a not-so-outdoorsy kid are real sinister pieces of work. Brothers Jack (Aiden Gillen) and Patrick Blackwell (Nicholas Hoult) charge a high price for their services, not least because of their reputation for clean, untraceable kills.
However, once Hannah takes Connor under her fiercely protective wing, her resourceful form of resistance forces Jack and Patrick to make some uncharacteristically messy mistakes.
Although this thriller is obviously treading a well-worn path, it does so with real poise, purpose and surprisingly menacing intent.
Not only thanks to the quality work of Jolie and her talented young co-star, but also the punchy writing and direction of ultraconsistent filmmaker Taylor Sheridan (Hell Or High Water). Those Who Wish Me Dead is now showing in general release
THE UNITED WAY (PG) ★★★ General release
When this slick sports documentary is on its game, it is an above-average account of the triumphs and tragedies that comprise the colourful history of Manchester United Football Club. However, as is too often the case when a doco allows the full commercial cooperation of its subject, The United Way can switch from compelling chronicle to dull advertorial in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, the good stuff is in plentiful supply here, and it is all because of the rollercoaster ride MUFC has given its many followers across the decades. Even if you do know the club’s story, it is one that does hold up well to a repeat telling: especially when it comes to the sad 1958 plane disaster that wiped a generation of talent off the team sheet, and the unlikely rebuild that lifted United to the absolute height of European glory just a decade later.
Present-day fans will definitely get a big kick out of reliving MUFC’s lengthy dominance of the English Premier League, an era which minted living legends from the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and (also serving as narrator here) Eric Cantona. However, even the staunchest United believers will roll their eyes at the doco pitching MUFC as “a unifying club for the people, by the people.”
Remember, it was only last month United was part of that European Super League fiasco, which definitely went against the wishes of their people.
JUNE AGAIN (M) ★★ General release
This is not to make light of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other debilitating conditions plaguing our older generations. However, after two recent superb movies exploring the irreversible tragedy of a malfunctioning mind – The Father and Supernova – this similarly-themed Australian effort comes across as wonkily contrived and less than convincing.
Noni Hazlehurst plays June, who has suddenly snapped out of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis that swallowed six years of her life and put her in a rest home.
As June comes to grips with her new-found mental clarity, she must also piece together what has become of her loved ones in her absence. Though not a lot is happening here, it still feels a mite rushed or over-edited.
A tale better told on multiepisode TV, perhaps? Co-stars Claudia Karvan, Stephen Curry.