Who’s ready for a comic, socially aware thriller with a nougat center of grindhouse insanity?
Sound impossible, no to mention awful? Somehow, first time writer/director Macon Blair pulls off all of the above. His biggest flaw?
The unwieldy title he slapped on it.
To its credit, “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” paints an accurate picture. We follow a lonely single woman who takes charge of her life at long last. But boy, what consequences ensue.
It’s not for the squeamish or anyone who likes movies to stick to one genre, darn it. Everyone else will be in for a ride.
Melanie Lynskey of “Togetherness” fame stars as Ruth, a health care worker let down by life. She’s single, drinks a few too many beers each night and has few friends.
When her modest home is ransacked by thieves something snaps. She enlists the aid of a kind but eccentric neighbor (Elijah Wood) to find the culprits.
The local police are no help at all. That won’t stop Ruth, whose sense of security has been shattered beyond repair. People will start being nicer to each other. Or else.
FAST FACT: “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” won the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
“I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” is quirky to its core, befitting the love heaped upon it on the festival circuit. There’s far more to it that indie film preciousness.
Lynskey is outstanding in a role that could have left her on the outside looking in. This is her fight, her reclamation project. And she’s all in. Even when the action explodes we’re still on her side, even if she isn’t acting like your typical movie heroine.
What is she fighting against? The callous cruelty that courses through our lives. A culture which too often doesn’t have our back. And, more importantly, her own lethargy. You could see this story becoming a libertarian manifesto. The system can’t help. Take matters into your own hands.
Only for heaven’s sake be more careful than Ruth! None of that naval gazing prepares us for what’s to come.
You might say Blair’s directorial debut flies off the rails. It does, but with purpose. The violence and comic insanity of the third act feels wholly organic. That’s a balancing act most veteran directors couldn’t pull off.
In short, this could be headed for cult status right quick.
Wood is just fine as Ruth’s reluctant partner. And the duo’s flirtations are sweetly sketched, one of many morsels left for viewers upon repeat viewings.
It’s the secondary characters who sparkle. Nearly everyone in the frame gets his or her moment. It might be a darkly comic rant or a numb reflection on the status quo.
Blair’s screenplay packs a surprise in every scene.
FAST FACT: Actress Melanie Lynskey, who describes herself as a size 8, says she has turned down roles that asked her that “stereotyped her for her size,” according to People magazine.
It’s still Ruth’s journey. Lynskey plays her with a quiet obsession. Thirty-plus years of being a punching bag have taken their toll. The screenplay refuses to turn that into anything resembling a revenge saga, though.
Who would cheer a protagonist who steals lawn art?
Ruth’s flaws, and they are many, make the movie feel even more authentic.
HiT or Miss: Consider “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” an acquired taste. If it speaks to you, though, it’ll be a 90 minutes you won’t soon forget.