Leave the World Behind (2023)
December 9, 2023 12:54 PM - Subscribe

A family's getaway to a luxurious rental home takes an ominous turn when a cyberattack knocks out their devices, and two strangers appear at their door.

Starring Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, and Myha'la. Directed and written by Sam Esmail, showrunner of Mr. Robot .
posted by wakannai (25 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If I'd made a drinking game out of every time I or my friend wondered out loud whether a particular passage of screenplay was AI generated, I wouldn't have made it through the film alive.
posted by wakannai at 1:00 PM on December 9, 2023 [3 favorites]

Lots of easter eggs, it is set in the Mr.Robot universe, sometime after 5/9, “E Corp” exists as does the book “Beach Towel”…. Only about 20m into it, but the high-frame-rate/HDR is just giving me a cheap “video game/made-for-TV” vibe.
posted by rozcakj at 2:02 PM on December 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

Wakannai - this is based on a novel. We read this in my book club about a year ago, in fact.

...although I am now wondering how close an adaptation this was. (Haven't seen it yet, but I do plan to.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:54 PM on December 9, 2023

FF discussion about the book.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:17 PM on December 9, 2023 [2 favorites]

From the reactions I’ve seen online a lot of people seem put off by the ending but I thought it was perfect.

Wondering if Julia Roberts is a legitimately terrible dancer or if that was an intentional “Elaine from Seinfeld” bit.
posted by The Gooch at 11:16 PM on December 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

EmpressCallypigos — I did see it was based on a book, which I haven't read, but something about the direction or delivery of so many of the lines felt completely inhuman. One clunker that stuck in my head was to the effect of "I often don't see many people around here." WHAT. I also wonder how much of the script was adapted more directly from the page, where I imagine a lot of the more Serious Monologues would read more convincingly, because of screen I kept thinking "Only a computer would think people interact with each other like this."

The Gooch — we had the same thought about how Elaine-y her dancing, dress, and hair were in that scene. I assumed it was an intentional reference to the kinds of 90's nostalgia that threaded through the movie.
posted by wakannai at 2:09 AM on December 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

We watched it last night. I enjoyed the slow buildup in the first half, but it really started to drag. A lot of red herrings were thrown out (the woman in distress) and ultimately led to nothing. I'm still not sure what the point of the Kevin Bacon subplot was, other than to clumsily reveal piece of information that could have been found with more organic exploration by the characters. The final scene raised a lot of questions, most of them unkind. It felt like everyone got bored and went home rather than the film ending with intention. At the end of it all, I felt like the first half was let down by the second. I don't need, or expect, that every movie will tie everything up neatly in a bow - I'm fine with some ambiguity - but this ultimately didn't work. Maybe 3 stars/C+ for me.
posted by wintermind at 11:59 AM on December 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

I loved the book, and I loved this movie. Loved many of the changes from the book (especially the teslas), and feel better about switching GH's wife with his daughter. I've been so excited to see this since I heard about it, and wasn't disappointed.
posted by armacy at 2:57 PM on December 10, 2023 [3 favorites]

Gave up after 25 mins - more stilted than that cheese on stilts.
posted by monocultured at 3:18 PM on December 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

It felt like the 'disturbance' was much more spelled out in the movie than in the book, right? Maybe I'm not remembering correctly but I feel like the book never really confirmed what was going on though of course some sort of war seemed the most plausible.
posted by ambulanceambiance at 4:55 PM on December 10, 2023

I find it funny seeing people complain about how stilted everyone is. I immediately felt like the director was trying to copy Yorgos Lanthimos. Portraying wealthy/upper middle-class people being stilted and inhuman is a thing these days.

I've seen a few TikTok videos "exposing" this movie's motives and how it's some sort of illuminati brainwashing narrative. On one hand it's like those people have no awareness of what sci-fi is and how it reflects current anxieties/fears. On the other it is produced by the Obamas, so maybe they're onto something.

There is some beautiful cinematography in there and some fantastic transitions. I really enjoyed a lot of the blocking and physical scene construction. As far as the story, I thought it skirted a lot of the usual tropes in nice ways Not resorting to violence near the end with the survivalist was a nice touch. It was a bit heavy-handed with the whole "humans need mindless entertainment to survive the apocalypse" side theme though.
posted by M Edward at 7:56 PM on December 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

Just watched this after finishing a re-watch of Mr. Robot and enjoyed the easter eggs of "Beach Towel" and something else that seemed like a reference to a thing that happened when the White Rose plot wrapped up (trying not to do a spoiler for those who haven't watched Mr. Robot)
posted by mabelstreet at 9:16 PM on December 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

I liked the ending, although it was exactly the sort of thing that would have *infuriated* me a few years ago. The girl wanted to finish that bloody series, if nothing else in her life.
posted by h00py at 12:36 AM on December 11, 2023

NOPE. I bounced off so many plot elements. The direction is fine but the pace is glacial and the characters are just...meh. It's about as well thought out as your typical disaster porn flick. I haven't has such a what-the-fuck-waste-of-time -is-this since M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. That is two and a half hours I'll never get back.
posted by Ber at 10:32 AM on December 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

I liked Mr. Robot but this was the worst movie I've seen this year. Incredibly unsatisfying, ponderously paced, ostentatious direction, paper-thin characters.
posted by adrianhon at 2:15 AM on December 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

I was reminded of The Hateful Eight where so much was told, not shown, and everyone seemed to have heard of or be aware of each other/WTF was going on, reducing the world to just these few people in one setting.

To have Mahershala Ali recap the Die Hard 4.0 Fire Sale explanation at the end before The Rembrandts' kiss-off was just clumsy AF storytelling.

I'm also annoyed this undercuts James Tynion IV's amazing (and currently incomplete) Nice House on the Lake series.
posted by Molesome at 4:20 AM on December 13, 2023

I am ashamed of the crimes I would commit to obtain that house.

I really liked the movie. It's interesting that Ben compared it to The Happening, which is one of my least favorite of all time. I agree that the plots are similar, but the performances in this were miles better and the mysteries and ambiguities felt much more earned.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:54 AM on December 13, 2023


Well, look, y'all. Nobody is really ready when the end comes, are they? And there aren't any happy endings for any of us in real life.

I physically recoiled at how stereotypically awful Julia Roberts' character was in this, but anyone who says "I fucking hate people" pretty early on is simply telling you who they are.

I could say a lot more about the last 5 minutes, but hey, at least one person in the film got exactly what she wanted on her vacation.

For me personally, I'd give it 10/10 stars for that ending and it's exactly what I'd expect from Esmail.

Also 10/10 for getting another chance to hear Mahershala speak at length about, oh, anything, really. I'm getting quite frustrated at the way Marvel's fumbled the whole Blade reboot, and this was a nice little salve for my impatience.

Had no idea this was based on a book! Now I'm tempted to look it up...
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:29 PM on December 14, 2023 [1 favorite]

Got very tired of dramatically important conversations being ended with an OMG. Like when Julia Roberts realizes Mahershala Ali's story isn't adding up but BZZZT the daughter turns on the TV and its loud y'all. Or the big confrontation in the hut but BAM deer peril. OMG flamingos! Overuse of cheap neck snapping. It reminds me of the ol' offscreen bus, or the sudden t-bone from the background. You want to see the future of pictures? An OMG! stomping on human dialogue, forever.

I suppose I did like the theme of hiding information, of the kind of childish state of hiding unhappy realties from ourselves and each other. Overall though I don't think it is a very good examination of a Great Unraveling. People might turn on each other? Wow what a thought. It's a little like it came from a universe where COVID never happened and we didn't just all think about all this stuff for real. It's like it's coming to some basic realizations, as if it discovered them itself and is waiting for a pat on the back.

Somehow the Tesla scene really sticks out in my mind, as an example of taking an interesting little idea -- self-driving cars used to block chokepoints in an attack -- and turning it into an incredibly stupid scene of empty peril. For a little while I was willing to grant the movie a little surreality, like when Mahershala Ali tries to pick up a watch and then discovers he's actually in the middle of a giant field of wreckage and bodies. I allowed that, but then immediately lost points with the plane crash. Too much stupid spectacle.

I find it funny seeing people complain about how stilted everyone is. I immediately felt like the director was trying to copy Yorgos Lanthimos. Portraying wealthy/upper middle-class people being stilted and inhuman is a thing these days.

The dialogue is not stilted like Lanthimos or even Hartley; it's stilted like Shyamalan, or like Marling/Batmanglij, in a way I've never been able to articulate to my satisfaction. It haunts me!!! It's a particular kind of.. Sophomoric? Didactic? The characters are so earnestly cradled, like it loves its characters too much. Fake, but not in an artful way. You can have fake stilted characters but still evoke a kind of interesting model of human life. That's what The Lobster does, that's what basically every comedy does. This is not that. The creators seem to think these characters are deep and real. The implied underlying model is jejune. It's like.. stories one writes to impress one's mom. Maybe the connection of comedy is important. These things I'm thinking of are, above all, excruciatingly sincere.
posted by fleacircus at 6:25 AM on December 16, 2023 [1 favorite]

I quite liked the book, and I enjoyed the movie-- more than the book I think. In both cases, there were stylistic things I found distancing, from page to page or from line to line. In that sense I liked the movie much better, because I found the visuals very striking and the dialogue didn't bother me overly much. I thought most of the changes from book to movie were really good, especially father-daughter pair Mahershala Ali and Myha'la.

A lot of stuff in the movie struck me as either Hitchcockian (North By Northwest; The Birds) or (the Teslas) reminiscent of flashbacks to the initial disaster in the Walking Dead universe. Big ships running aground is an absolute nightmare of mine and that scene was really effective as an initial scare. I don't know if it was deliberate how much that resembled the running aground of ships to demolish them which is hideous and exploitative of the workers who do it, but with this movie I suspect it was.
posted by BibiRose at 12:46 PM on December 29, 2023

I've seen a few TikTok videos "exposing" this movie's motives and how it's some sort of illuminati brainwashing narrative. On one hand it's like those people have no awareness of what sci-fi is and how it reflects current anxieties/fears. On the other it is produced by the Obamas, so maybe they're onto something.

No, see, if it had been produced by anyone else, those same people would be all about "listen, this is just how sci-fi is, it reflects what we're worried about today." The fact that it was produced by the Obamas is what's making them assume a different motive.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:30 AM on December 30, 2023

Oh man, this was terrible. The dialog was bad, Julia Roberts was bad. All the portentous events that mean nothing. Esmail did such good work with Mr. Robot, i don't know what happened here. But hey, i guess the animals tried to warn us.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:58 PM on December 30, 2023

Didn't work for me. The further I got with the movie, the more it didn't work.

There are some stories where something momentous has happened, and you just take that as a given in the world of the story, for example The Road. In this story, something momentous is happening, but the more we learn about it, the more it doesn't make sense. I can't take it as a given because the lack of internal consistency is being revealed as the story goes along.

There could be a version of this story that works by focusing on just the interpersonal dynamics of people living through a collapse without referring to the nature of the collapse—also, where the nature of the collapse does not require heroic suspension of disbelief. This is not that version.
posted by adamrice at 9:30 AM on January 1

I was ok with them switching direction a bit. There was a bit too much use of the jarring/scary music. Pay off was very poor. Why were the deer forming gangs?

The guy playing the horrid brother will be quids in if Disney ever need a junior Kylo Ren.
posted by biffa at 4:22 PM on January 5

I was quite gripped by it early on but yes, as it headed toward 20 minutes and 10 minutes left I thought, we are not going to get a satisfying ending. So abrupt and not really satisfying.
posted by Glinn at 3:07 PM on January 16

« Older Doctor Who: The Giggle...   |  Movie: American Fiction... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments