Sam Esmail is the writer, director, and producer of the 2023 American apocalyptic, psychological thriller film Leave the World Behind, which is a gripping examination of human character in the face of an unidentified menace. Based on Rumaan Alam’s book of the same name, the movie debuted at the AFI Fest on October 25, 2023, and was made available on Netflix on November 22, 2023.
The movie centers on Amanda (Julia Roberts) and Clay (Ethan Hawke), a couple taking a lavish Long Island vacation with their kids. The entrance of G.H. (Mahershala Ali) and Ruth (Myha’la Herrold), two strangers with news of an enigmatic blackout, shatters their lovely getaway. The two families must face their prejudices and anxieties as they fight to survive as the outside world implodes into chaos.
A Nervous and Thought-Provoking Story
Leave the World Behind is a slow-moving movie that draws the audience in with its tense atmosphere and gripping performances. The movie chooses to concentrate on the character’s emotional reactions to the circumstance rather than providing simple solutions or explanations. Although viewers are likely to be left with more questions than answers, this ambiguity also gives them the freedom to infer what is happening and why.
The entire cast of the movie has excellent performances, but especially Roberts and Ali. Ali is just as compelling as the mysterious G.H., while Roberts makes a convincing impression as the fiercely protective mother. Essential members of the supporting cast include Myha’la Herrold and Ethan Hawke.
An Eye-Candy Buffet
The film Leave the World Behind has impressive visuals. Known for his work on Mr. Robot, Esmail uses close-up views and low lighting to create a sense of anxiety and dread. Impressive production design also goes into the movie, especially in how the deteriorating world outside the rented house is portrayed.
A Motion Picture for Our Times
In a time when concern about the future of the world is growing, Leave the World Behind is a film that is relevant to audiences. The film’s themes of distrust, terror, and the disintegration of societal order are sadly applicable to modern society. Even though the movie’s conclusion is unclear, it finally gives audiences hope for the future.
Leave the World Behind is a gripping and thought-provoking movie that will stick with audiences long after the credits have rolled.
Critics have given Leave the World Behind varying degrees of praise. While some have criticized the film for moving slowly and having an unclear finish, others have applauded the film’s atmosphere, suspense, and performances. Rotten Tomatoes currently has the movie with a 53% rating.
The following are a few reviews that the movie has received:
As to the New York Times, “After the credits roll, Leave the World Behind will leave a lasting impression on you as it is a gripping and thought-provoking movie.”
According to Variety: “A well-acted but ultimately unsatisfying film that fails to live up to its potential.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Leave the World Behind is a slow-burning film that is more interested in atmosphere than plot.”
Leave the World Behind is a worthwhile watch, regardless of your preference for post-apocalyptic thrillers or your need for a thought-provoking movie. Just be ready to have more questions than answers after reading this.