Leave The World Behind offers a shockingly real look at how quickly our technology-based world can crumble after communication is cut off. This pseudo-dystopian Netflix film addresses many concerns that people share when it comes to our over-reliance on technology in our day-to-day lives. While I don’t think the film capitalizes fully on its concept, it still manages to cause some unsettling feelings with its more than accurate look at how swiftly our civilization will collapse without information.
Feeling the pressures of a fast-paced city life in New York, Amanda (Julia Roberts) books an Air B&B for her family to get them out into the woods. With little to no service out where they’re at, Amanda and her husband Clay (Ethan Hawke) notice strange occurrences around them that don’t quite make sense to our world. When a knock at the door in the middle of the night reveals the homeowner of the Air B&B G.H. Scott (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter Ruth (Myha’la Herrold) standing out front, things only get weirder. Supposedly, a blackout occurred in the city and Scott wanted to get back home before anything got worse. How much of what he says is true?
Director Sam Esmail rose to notoriety with his brilliant show Mr. Robot, which blended science with psychology in a mashup that was reminiscent of Fight Club. Esmail has always handled technology and all its power in really unique ways, which was part of the reason I was so looking forward to this movie. Adapting the novel of the same name from author Rumaan Alam, Esmail touches on a lot of brilliant points when it comes to how our technology can be our undoing, but it felt overly long for the lack of big moments you’d hope would be there. The film tends to dance around whether something bad is actually happening and while the tension building works for a while, eventually it feels like they ran out of steam and didn’t have a bombastic ending planned.
Leave The World Behind is a solid enough sci-fi thriller without most of the thrills to keep you completely engaged. The performances are all solid as well, though it felt like Ali’s character was mishandled as far as the writing went because he ends up holding his cards too close to his chest until the very end where it felt as if it almost didn’t matter. Leave The World Behind feels like the full extent of its runtime which is only a bummer because it really did feel like it could have said or shown more to really emphasize the impact of its message. I really wanted to enjoy it more, so perhaps the novel is worth diving into because it really is a great concept at its core!
Listen to the full audio review below on our podcast page, or through any of the following platforms!