Leave the World Behind (2023)

Leave the World Behind (2023)

Shyamalan meets Black Mirror in this hugely entertaining, visually inventive apocalyptic thriller with a killer ending

The Very Best

8.2

Movie

United States of America
English, Spanish
Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller
2023
SAM ESMAIL
Alexis Rae Forlenza, Charlie Evans, Ethan Hawke
141 min

TLDR

The irony of Leave the World Behind premiering on Netflix considering *that* ending is certainly something to chew on.

What it's about

When a communications blackout suddenly strikes their luxurious remote vacation, Amanda (Julia Roberts), Clay (Ethan Hawke), and their kids are forced to share the house they rented with its owners (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la), who have returned bearing unnerving news.

The take

The key to what makes this apocalyptic thriller from Mr Robot and Homecoming showrunner Sam Esmail so unnerving is how resolute it is about not taking place in an alternate timeline. Making references to memorable events in recent history and namechecking real brands and cultural touchstones (like Tesla and Friends), Leave the World Behind is uncannily familiar — which, when combined with the film’s meticulous crafting of tension, makes it all the more unsettling.

Though taking place amidst an ambiguous national emergency, the film is largely set in one house — a claustrophobic setting that puts the characters’ self-conceits and prejudices under a microscope and forces them to confront their own impotence in an analog world. If it all sounds a bit “we live in a society,” be assured that Leave the World Behind cleverly manages to avoid the pitfalls of seeming like a bad Black Mirror ripoff by sidestepping expectations and deploying all the atmospheric tools in its arsenal. Withholding key plot and character information to increase our own paranoia means the movie always runs the risk of disappointment when explanations are finally given, but its focus on the human drama and its well-set-up ending ultimately eclipse any niggling frustrations.

What stands out

Crucial to the movie’s gripping effect is its all-too-rare use of the purely visual and aural elements of filmmaking. Tod Campbell's off-kilter cinematography (featuring frequently rotating camerawork and voyeuristic zooms) plus the jarring, jangly score by Mac Quayle set an instantly engrossing tone and magnify all the paranoia onscreen. If you’ve ever seen Esmail’s brilliant show Homecoming, you’ll know just how effective his direction is at wordlessly sowing the seeds of conspiracy — making for an unusually involving and deeply rewarding (if not exactly stress-free) viewing experience.

Comments

One of the most beautiful movies that I ever watched.

The entire movie, 2+ hours, felt like the buildup/setup that should have been about 30 minutes. Problem is, it never went anywhere. There was no middle or end to the story. Ridiculous.

The very worst. Another cash cow movie.

please remove it from this website… I just lost 2.5 hrs

worst movie I’ve probably ever watched

I cannot go beyond 10 first mins, it was sooo badly played, totally wrong and overplayed. The scene where the black couple arrives in the house is 100% NON credible. Pass your way.

No. This is nowhere near a terrible Shyamalan ending. The film has a credible ending and does not rely on a plot twist.
It’s neither random or heavily telegraphed like a Shyamalan film.

i feel like the arts-consuming public has lost their collective ability to watch anything with unanswered questions or something that’s visual beautiful and thought-provoking in favor of being spoon-fed the beginning, middle, and satisfying conclusion every damned time. i thoroughly enjoyed this film. it was weird as f*** in the best way, with killer cinematography + score. people, you’re missing the point.

trash ending for sure

I hated the ending oh my bro it sucked

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