Overview: After her house is broken into and robbed, a desperate woman enlists the help of her neighbor to seek retribution in an unfeeling world. Netflix; Not Rated; 2017; 93 minutes.
“Everyone Is An Asshole”: Macon Blair surprised audiences with his startling turn in Blue Ruin just four years ago. Last year he turned heads yet again in a supporting role in Green Room. While working in close collaboration with writer and director Jeremy Saulnier on both films – in addition to their self-funded debut Murder Party from 2007 – Blair has managed to carve out a small corner of mainstream popularity and acclaim for himself in the entertainment industry. Thus far, all of his films have been beholden to a violent chaos swirling around the conflicting ideals of justice and revenge, with each subsequent production tactfully aiming to blur the line between any such distinction. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, serving as Blair’s directorial debut, manages to further said discussion even further by posing an impossible plea for basic human decency in a world gone awry.
“You Say That Like It Means Something”: After discovering that her home has been broken into and her most treasured personal belongings pilfered for profit, Melanie Lynskey as chief protagonist Ruth goes on a war path. Like Blair did in Blue Ruin before her, Lynskey treads a similar journey that takes her to the very heart of human corruption and depravity. Possessed with the romantic notion that dignity, honor, and respect mean the same thing to everyone around her, Lynskey soon finds that her trust in the good will of others has been sorely misplaced. As a result, the very title of Blair’s film becomes something of a rallying cry to those striving for to find significant beauty in the face of nihilistic oblivion. Unfortunately, Blair places a little too much emphasis on the seedier side of his rural morality play and not enough trust in Lynskey to sell her character outside of several contrived scenes of implosive antagonism.
“I don’t feel at home in this world anymore.”: For all of its bluster and sympathetic lead performances from Lynskey and co-star Elijah Wood, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is frustratingly imperfect. Much like Ryan Gosling did in directing Lost River in 2015, Blair has taken all he has learned from working under the direction of another filmmaker and copied wholesale from some of his mentor’s greatest hits. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a boldly grim revenge thriller, but unlike Blue Ruin and Green Room it lacks the emotional versatility of Saulnier’s visual aestheticism and flair for storytelling. Blair makes for a great dramatic muse, but in the director’s chair, the Virginia born auteur struggles to find a voice that is distinctively different from the one he frequently adopts for Saulnier as a featured player.
Overall: I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a beguiling maze of Lynchian set pieces and characters that are lurid enough to distract the viewer from a lot of the script’s most glaring shortcomings. Blair’s directorial debut is definitely not something to be easily dismissed, but it also leaves a lot to be desired for diehard fans of his work in Blue Ruin and Green Room.
Featured Image: Netflix