Leave the World Behind
Early in the morning, Amanda (Julia Roberts) woke up her submissive husband (Ethan Hawke) and, in her usual commanding tone, informed him that they are taking the kids and heading to a country house for the weekend, which she just rented. The vacation starts off wonderfully – the house is luxurious, there are almost no people around, but then strange things begin to happen. A massive oil tanker crashes into the beach. Deer boldly emerge in groups from the forest, staring at people as if plotting something. Closer to nightfall, there’s a knock on the door. A man and a woman (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la Herrold) stand at the threshold and declare that this house belongs to them. They apologize, explaining that there’s a blackout in New York, and they had to come here. Meanwhile, mobile communication is cut off, and on the television, through the white noise, an incomprehensible message about an emergency situation comes through.
This is an excellent slow-burner about how two intelligent families experience not the apocalypse itself, but its very beginning. Not much happens here, but the director builds such dense suspense through parallel editing, rare special effects, and incredible camera maneuvers that it’s just breathtaking! I really enjoyed the elusive sense of uncertainty when, like the main characters, you feel the threat but don’t understand what’s really happening. All the clues lead in different directions. Terrorist attack? War? Machine uprising? Remember the copypasta: “A friend’s father works for the FSB. He was urgently called to a meeting today. He came back late and didn’t explain anything. Just said to pack things and run to the store for two weeks’ worth of supplies…” Well, here it’s roughly the same.
Immersing the characters in an atmosphere of paranoia, the creators once again remind us of the fragility of society. We’ve seen in movies many times how people survive in a wild world where man is a wolf to man. Here, we witness the moment when they don’t even know what to do and how to behave, but problems are already accumulating behind their external civility – mistrust, panic, racism, lack of a plan of action, and so on. The dark irony is also in the fact that the fear of the end of the world mixes with typical urbanite fears – the TV, phone, and GPS don’t work – it’s scary. Plastic cards have become useless – it’s very scary. Strangers are in your home – it’s a complete disaster. We’re all going to die, and I won’t even see the last episode of “Friends” – it’s such horror that you could shit yourself.
And there’s also a wonderful, audacious (in a good sense) ending! It might seem silly to some, but in my opinion, it’s a contender for the title of the best ending of the year, I’m telling you for sure.
Rotten Tomatoes (6.7) / IMDB (6.5)