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Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) is having one of those days. Weeks really. Months? Life is more like it. All around her she seems surrounded by uncaring, unkind, disconnected people oblivious to the world around them. People cut her off in the checkout lane, they tell her the good parts in books before she’s gotten to them, they let their dogs do their business on her front yard. She’s greatly upset by it, depressed even. When she comes home one day to find her house has been robbed, including her laptop and her grandmother’s silver, it’s not so much the loss of her things that have her irked but rather the violation that gets her. It makes her cry.
Still, she wants them back, and when the police don’t have any answers, she uses her phone to locate her laptop, which happens to be nearby. Enlisting the help of Tony (Elijah Wood), an eccentric, church-loving, seudo-martial arts enthusiast to go with her, they find the laptop, but learn the silver is elsewhere, and it leads them far from the comforts of their suburban banal neighborhood into the dark, dangerous underworld of a crime family they aren’t at all prepared for. Now they just need to survive.
Written and directed by Macon Blair, I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore is an unusual tale to be certain. Starting off on an indie foot, with the requisite kooky characters and the world off-center story that feels lowdown and oddball, it takes a sharp turn at the halfway point that would seem primed to be like a bullet train derailed at top speed. Instead, it makes for a trippy second half that goes off the map insane in an ultra-violent cacophony of absolute abandon that becomes more entertaining than the start, even as the two parts feel like the perfect complement.
Lynsky, who is thankfully making herself a steady presence in indie film, is perfectly cast, carrying the disjointed weight of the story with great energy, seemingly not knowing she’s in a dark, dark comedy, playing it straight from the start, which is exactly the right tone. Wood, who has made a purposeful effort to stick to indie films of late, creates one of his best characters yet, and delivers a rocket-powered performance that is blisteringly good. The two are a fantastic screen duo.
Blair’s script is very strong, finding some nice balance in the tonal shifts, a bit reminiscent of some recent Shane Black mixed with a dash of Tarantino, though in all honestly, it feels hardly like an homage but rather something altogether fresh on its own. The movie has a great sense of identity, one that is best described as ‘multiple,’ and whatever you think is going to happen, you can be sure it won’t. What’s truly smart about the movie is in fact putting Lynsky dead center, because if the lead were a man, this movie would probably disappear. That’s not to say that women can’t do action, but rather because our hero is Lynsky, not just ‘a woman,’ it resets the gauges in our expectations. She’s not a would-be action star in the making. She’s not an every-woman suddenly finding heroism when pressed into action. She’s just a girl who got robbed and disappointed there are people in the world who are just not nice. That she gets caught up in bloody chaos over it just makes it great.
The film is loaded with terrific performances, from Jane Levy‘s disturbing turn as an end-of-her-rope thug to Gary Anthony Williams‘ almost hysterical bit as a police detective, the story is never without a colorful character giving poor Ruth a reason to keep slipping into the cold waters of indifference.
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore is a surprisingly fun, although gory, little thriller with some inspired direction and a sensational soundtrack. A little off the beaten path, if you’re looking for something not of the norm, this will scratch that itch and then some.
Movie description: I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore is a 2017 drama/thriller about a woman unhappy with the state of the world who goes on a dark journey of terrible discovery after her house gets robbed.
Director(s): Macon Blair
Actor(s): Melanie Lynskey, Chris Doubek, Marilyn Faith Hickey
Genre: Drama, Thriller