Review: I Don't Feel At Home in This World Anymore
This was originally reviewed as part of our Sundance 2017 coverage.
PLOT: After her home is burglarized, a depressed nurse (Melanie Lynskey) and her oddball neighbor (Elijah Wood) try to track down the culprits, but find themselves pulled into an inevitable, violent confrontation.
REVIEW: I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE, which takes the cake as the most unwieldy film title in recent memory, is the directorial debut of Macon Blair. Best known for starring in Jeremy Saulnier’s BLUE RUIN and co-starring in his follow-up, GREEN ROOM, Blair, who also penned the screenplay, establishes himself as a major director in his own right. Already snapped-up by Netflix, this comic neo-noir seems tailor made for that streaming platform, and is the kind of interesting genre mash-up that should help make the service a legit destination for indie auteurs.
This is certainly a terrific showcase for lead Melanie Lynskey. An indie stalwart, whose films, such as the underrated HELLO, I MUST BE GOING, too often come and go without much buzz, Lynskey gives a awards caliber performance. Depressed but not humorless, this worn-down nurse feels isolated from those around her, with her only lifeline being a stoner friend who’s outgrowing her now that she has a child. Her feelings of alienation are exacerbated by the break-in, but given that only a laptop and some china were taken the police essentially shrug-off the crime.
Through some mild detective work, she manages to find significant clues pointing her in the direction of the thieves, enlisting her kung-fu-loving neighbor, the rat-tailed, church-going Elijah Wood to help her out. Both are pulled into an underworld they have no concept of and are utterly unprepared to deal with, and after a comic first half-hour, the film morphs into a thriller not far removed from Sundance hit COLD IN JULY.
Blair’s directorial talent is clear as day, with beautiful 2:35:1 compositions that cry out to be seen theatrically (which is unlikely given Netflix’s model), and uniformly excellent performances. Wood’s been really solid in his recent indie work, but to me this is his best performance in a long time, and he’s used in a unique way by Blair, who, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine could have played this role himself.
Blair’s also done a good job slowly, but surely, building tension to the sudden explosion of ultra-violence in the finale. Straddling many genre lines, the film could have been a jarring mess, but Blair makes the transitions smooth and naturalistic. The baddies, led by the psychotic David Gow, the fragile Devon Graye and a nearly unrecognizable Jane Levy, are scary enough that you keep hoping Lynskey and Wood will be able to avoid them - although the confrontation does not disappoint. Blair’s brothers, Brooke and Will, contribute a memorable score along the lines of their work for BLUE RUIN and GREEN ROOM, and the oddball soundtrack choices, including Echo & the Bunnymen’s “Bring on the Dancing Horses” give this a distinctive musical identity, something we don’t often see in mainstream films nowadays.
In the end, I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE is exactly the kind of fare I hope for when I come to Sundance. A unique, thoroughly unpredictable feature, it’s the type of film we should all be grateful is still being produced, and a feature worthy of finding the large audience a service like Netflix gives it access to.
|Extra Tidbit:||I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE is now available on Netflix worldwide!|