Sundance 2017: I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Macon Blair, best known for being an actor and producer on filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier's films Green Room and Blue Ruin, makes his directorial debut with I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore - which pulls a lot of stylistic elements from those past collaborations, while also showing that he too has a bright future in this position.
The film is anchored by Melanie Lynskey's brave performance as Ruth - a depressed nursing assistant whose life begins to unravel after she experiences a home break-in, frustrated that her irreplaceable possessions have been taken and the authorities aren't willing to do much about it. Ruth decides to take matters into her own hands with the help of her neighbour Tony, played by Elijah Wood - a would-be practicer of martial arts with a penchant for hard rock music and a devout religious side.
The two form an oddball pairing, as they work to retrieve Ruth's property and come into contact with the culprits, who in this case are a band of thieves played by Devon Graye, David Yow, and Jane Levy - each sickly in their presentation and feel like they would fit right in with any of Saulnier's past films. Eventually these two opposing groups come into contact, and when that happens, it leads to an thrilling, satisfying, and aggressively tenacious third act.
Within the story, Blair appears to be making a strong assertion about the nature of class, but also about the times we're living in today - where people we expect to be good and honourable lack the ability to care. Its this disparity in the human condition that foregrounds the overarching narrative - and it is communicated with violent results. Thankfully, for such a hardened story, there is a lot of dark comedy to be found, at times feeling like a riff on the Coen Brothers' seminal slacker classic The Big Lebowski, much of which is thanks to the great work from Lynskey and Wood.
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore will make its Netflix debut on February 24th, and I advise checking it out, already one of the best directorial debuts of 2017, and something that people will be talking about all year.