Did You See It? Angelina Plays Montana Smokejumper in 2021 Film
At my house, choosing what to watch on family movie night can easily take 30 minutes. The process usually involves scrolling through Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Redbox, etc., and watching all the trailers, trying to pick a film that everyone agrees on. It can be a challenge. Over the weekend we stumbled upon Angelina Jolie's fairly recent movie, Those Who Wish Me Dead. It turned out to be a good choice.
The majority of the film's story is set in Montana.
Released in May 2021 on HBO Max, the movie features Jolie as a tragedy-scarred smokejumper dealing with personal demons. Her character does very little actual smokejumping in the movie. Disciplinary action for a wild stunt involving a parachute and a pickup truck (think hooky-bobbing) causes her to be relegated to fire watchtower duty on top of a ridge in Montana.
A potentially boring plot quickly turns exciting as bad guys end up chasing after a young boy into the mountains of Montana. In the process, they intentionally start a forest fire and promise to kill anyone who attempts to get in their way as they hunt down the child.
Spot the Montana references in the film.
It's always fun to see how Hollywood drops Montana references into movies. Those Who Wish Me Dead was actually filmed in New Mexico, but the mountain scenes do look like portions of Montana (supposedly the Bitterroot National Forest). The Sherrif's office squad cars in the movie say Park County. Montana locals will note that Livingston isn't anywhere near the Bitterroots. The bad guys say "I hate this place" a handful of times, which I thought was funny.
How accurate are the film's wildfire scenes?
Hollywood often takes a lot of liberties when it comes to accuracy. Wildfire Today asked one of their smokejumping contributors to review the film. He wrote,
Of course, the fire behavior is a little dramatic, the goggles are comical, and maybe the HALO Smokejumping operations are a bit much, but when a smokejumper faceplants on landing, it brought it back home for me. Overall, it doesn’t take too large of a leap to make the movie feel realistic, even for firefighters.
Their reviewer gave it 4/5 stars. I thought the movie was good too. It's rated R for language and violence, but I was comfortable watching it with my kids.
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