Netflix has been killing the game with its original releases recently. Following on from a plethora of original, thought-provoking and genuinely brilliant movies comes the latest Elijah Wood vehicle, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. The directing debut from Macon Blair is far from the general expectation of a vigilante film. However, the question is, is it worth a watch?
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore follows Ruth (Melanie Lynskey), a nurse who is burglarised by a group of criminals. After joining forces with her neighbour, Tony (Elijah Wood), they embark on a journey to get revenge, and to find her missing silverware.
Although the premise sounds mediocre at best, it’s the injection of jet-black humour that brings this movie to life. Lynskey and Wood are like nunchucks: they work without each other, but the movie becomes a bit pointless if they’re separated.
Melanie Lynskey brings a quiet calm to the move, acting as the grounding force. She’s still slightly erratic, but compared to Tony, she’s boring. Lynskey slips into the lead role like a glove, personifying the strange, determined and brave character of Ruth. Her transition from passive nurse to kick-ass vigilante is seamless and her character arc is deep enough for it to be believable, without detracting from the overall storyline.
Elijah Wood, however, brings the perfect amount of psycho to the movie. He loves death metal, ninja stars and has a rat tail. He’s weird. But, he is also caring, compassionate and willing to protect Ruth no matter what the cost. The relationship between Tony and his dog is also adorable, bringing just the right amount of relief to a movie that, otherwise, may come across as becoming too dark.
The friendship between Tony and Ruth is full of dark jokes, booze, and loud music. Becoming friends in a time of crisis is what really pulled them together, with each of them offering the strength and bravery that they both need to get through the situation. They survived shootouts, boat chases, kidnappings and fights over laptops, all within two days. That is what I call a strong friendship.
The supporting actors are also brilliant. The ‘baddies’ are evil, but in an endearingly bad-at-their-job kind of way. They leave footprints, evidence and bodies around, whilst still thinking they’re the best in the bad business. However, they definitely look the part. Christian’s platinum blonde hair and serial killer smile is terrifying, whilst Marshall is the typical sleazy crime lord you’d expect. Dez, however, is doll-like: porcelain skin, huge eyes, and very, very high. It is safe to say that the villains in this movie are definitely not ones you’d ever want to meet.
The stand out supporting actress, without a doubt, has to be Meredith. A trapped, lonely housewife, she latches on to human interaction like red wine on a white rug. She’s petty, feisty and hilarious. In the most action filled and gory of scenes, she brings something a little light-hearted, and, when the time comes, she can show that she has a huge heart too.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is an indie film with a blockbuster plot. It’s brilliantly written, flawlessly weaving comedy with action and gore. It’s funny in a way that isn’t meant to be funny, but the situation makes it hilarious. The story can’t be put into a genre: it’s a thriller, it’s an action and it’s a comedy. Movies that can move easily through different genres without even realising are good movies.
The visuals of the film are also stellar. From the weird, illegal market, to the home of Meredith and Christian Snr., every inch of this movie is orchestrated as you would expect an indie film to be. It’s colourful, creative and brilliantly executed.
It’s not often that a movie that is genreless could be considered one of the best movies on Netflix. I can safely say that this movie exceeded all of my expectations, and also anything I expected the movie to be about. It is smart, it is funny and it is original: something that movies try too hard to be sometimes. This is why I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a must watch.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐