Leave the World Behind 2023 Movie Review
So Netflix churning out 6/10 movies every other week is a given at this point, no matter what director or writers they hire, it could be the best directors and writers working right now, but they would still make a 6/10 movie no matter the budget or the talent. There’s just something about Netflix that makes every movie they release either just fine or downright terrible. Maybe Apple and Amazon put a hex on them? I think I’ve only seen a handful of Netflix movies that were actually great, but other than that, most of their movies are 6/10 or worse.
So I literally just finished Mr. Robot yesterday, and what do you know, a new movie comes out with Sam Esmail as writer and director. Of course I’m gonna immediately jump on and see what he does next. And I gotta say, I’m not disappointed one bit about his direction here. That was probably the biggest reason I went into the movie and knew was gonna be good if everything else wasn’t. And going into a Netflix movie, I know beforehand that the script probably isn’t that good anyway. But I think at least for the characters and some of the dialogue, the script did a pretty good job.
Jumping into this movie immediately after finishing Mr. Robot, you’re gonna notice a lot of similarities about the details that went into this movie, all the background stuff that’s happening, the camerawork and editing, and of course the music by the same composer of the show that helps build up the tension and keep you at the edge of your seat.
So the movie is pretty long and I can see why so many people complain about it and it being boring. I personally didn’t find it boring at all. The direction and the music keep the somewhat slow pacing going nicely. Sure, there are a lot of long dialogue scenes, but the dialogue is in my opinion well-written and keeps the scene interesting. And I didn’t even expect this movie to spend a lot of time outside the house honestly. I thought this was going to be a a low-budget Netflix film that takes place entirely in the house and it’s just these four or 6 people talking to each other. Something like It Comes at Night, which I didn’t like at all.
But surprisingly, the movie has a lot of actually really good CGI and good cinematography. Though the camera trick they do kinda gets noticeable after a while and they use it a lot. Though it’s still impressive and keeps the movie engaging. I knew if anything else was gonna mediocre, at least the direction was gonna be top-notch, and I wasn’t wrong.
So as for the story itself, I think it’s more about the characters and how they react to this situation and how they treat each other than the plot itself. Sam Esmail said in an interview about Mr. Robot that the plot doesn’t really matter because you’re gonna forget it anyway after a while, what you’ll remember is what the characters were and what they did. And even though he isn’t wrong and I agree that characters are probably the most important part of a story and a movie, I personally think the plot is somewhat as important as the characters of the story.
The plot isn’t actually that bad, until the ending. I think I can kinda see what they were going for with the daughter character and her struggle with not being heard and all that. And the abrupt ending could also be a reflection of how abrupt the situation would be in real life and how sudden and quickly it would end. But I just don’t the ending satisfying at all.
Another thing I didn’t really care for was some of the dialogue from the character of Ruth which you’ll know which ones I’m talking about if you see the film. And the same cliché sentence of “imagine the uproar if it was the opposite”.
Another thing is that for a movie that is over 2 hours, and the characters are more important than the plot (I’m assuming), I don’t think it does a really decent job of characterization except for the 3 main adult actors. The little daughter is just ignored throughout the movie, which I think is the point? But the boy isn’t much different than your typical teenage boy in a horror movie.
And I know that the movie has themes and subtext of race and racism, American society, and all that, and probably more than anything, the overreliance of people on technology. Some of the themes definitely overlap with Mr. Robot’s themes. But I don’t think the story hasn’t been done before in a lot of other movies, and if the whole point was the characters, I don’t think we haven’t seen these kinds of characters in these kinds of situations before either. I’ve seen my fair share of character-driven films
What I’m trying to say is, I think understand what they were going for, but it would’ve been way better with a tighter script, maybe a shorter runtime, and a better ending.
The ending is abrupt and some of the things or probably most of the things aren’t explained at the end. And if the point of the abrupt ending was to show this is how it’s gonna happen in real life if this thing (I’m trying not to spoil) happened, and it’s realistic maybe to finish it like this.
Ty Franck, the writer of The Expanse books, on a podcast once said that “just because it’s realistic, doesn’t mean it’s good storytelling”. As much as I don’t completely agree with his statement, and I do appreciate if things are realistic in movies and have no problems with it in movies and shows, I gotta agree with him in this case. Because the ending not only doesn’t convey the sense of realism here, it doesn’t make for a satisfying ending. It feels more like the writer of the book this movie is based on didn’t know how to end the story and decided to just suddenly end it.
The themes this movie tries to explore don’t get deeper either. For a movie that’s over 2 hours, you kinda expect more from it than just a couple of lines of dialogue. So I don’t know the book, but if the book is anything like this, I’m not sure I even like the story that much, since it’s more character-driven, but I don’t feel satisfied with the characterization.
But all the rant and the negatives aside, I think this movie has a fantastic feel and vibe to it and conveys the feeling of paranoia and dread excellently. After all, the director Sam Esmail and the composer Mac Quayle have had a lot of practice and experience from Mr. Robot. So in that regard, I think the movie does a great job of making you feel uneased. The cinematography is also great and keeps the movie interesting enough. The acting is also pretty good too, but I don’t think that’s surprising to anyone.
So for the nice cinematography and the direction, I think the movie is definitely worth watching if you want to feel unsettled and paranoid for 2 hours. But if you don’t like long dialogue scenes or the patience for these kinda of things, I don’t think the movie is for you. The ending could be really disappointing too.
I personally liked this movie and think it’s really well-made and well-acted and isn’t boring at all, but I only liked it till the ending. Maybe I’m just fanboying because of who the director is and would’ve liked it less if I hadn’t watched Mr. Robot. But I liked it for what it was and really liked the tension and the camerawork. But anyway, the whole plot and its ending aren’t that satisfying at all. And I do think the movie is worth a watch anyway if you have spare time.