Leave The World Behind Movie Review: Anti-climactic Apocalypse

Leave The World Behind Movie Review: Anti-climactic Apocalypse

The political reason behind all the eeriness is flimsy and the slow-burn situations don’t culminate in a crescendo
Rating:(2.5 / 5)

The complexity of being human means that we seek solace from unusual, and sometimes self-defeating, quarters. If that doesn’t describe technology, what does? Julia Roberts’s Amanda goes through something similar in Leave The World Behind. Meanwhile, her daughter Rose, who keeps drawing parallels to Adrian from the film 2012, finds comfort in a sitcom. All these references serve as a stark reminder of evolving times, where connection is sought in varied forms. But what if, one day everything you have taken for granted collapses without warning?

Director: Sam Esmail

Cast: Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, Myha'la Herrold, Kevin Bacon
Streaming: Netflix

Amanda is an advertising executive, who rents an aesthetic home for the weekend along with her husband Clay (Ethan Hawke) and two kids. Their quiet escape soon turns into a nightmare when two unannounced guests (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la) turn up at their doorstep amid an unprecedented blackout and network breakdown. As the country around them starts collapsing, distrust and disbelief begin to breed.

It is fascinating how director Sam Esmail never shifts the camera away from these two families to show the scale of the apocalypse. The audience is given only a bird’s eye view of the world disintegrating outside. The lens goes topsy-turvy to establish the sense of helplessness and dizzying moments for the protagonists. The sporadic cutaways that do capture the damage are brilliant.

Unlike 2012, Birdbox or The Day After Tomorrow, we don’t witness thousands of people running for their lives or dropping dead like flies. People leave well in advance. There are logistical problems to take care of, but the mother of all challenges remains being able to trust another human during a catastrophe.

The film, however, isn’t able to handle the magnitude of its events. The charged dynamics between the guests should have been explored more.

For Amanda, who hates people, all it takes is one monologue to reassess her attitude. The potential for escalating suspicion and discomfort isn’t delved into either, leaving the narrative’s darker possibilities untouched. The political reason behind all the eeriness is flimsy and the slow-burn situations don’t culminate in a crescendo. All of this means that the viewer is left yearning for more. Somewhere down the line, a fascinating premise, like the world within this film, gets undone without warning. 

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