By: Cole Henry
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a 2017 genre-less film directed and written by Macon Blair in his directorial debut. His name may be familiar to some because of the acting and writing he has done for Jeremy Saulnier’s two films, Blue Ruin and Green Room. Macon Blair has proven himself to be both a great actor and writer, and now, in his directorial debut, he proves that he is as amazing behind the camera as he is in front of it. He has crafted one of the weirdest and most intriguing movies to be released in quite a while, and props to Netflix for taking gamble on such an odd piece of art. Yet, seeing as this film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year then the appeal of this film may not be quite as niche as the genre aesthetics seem to place it as. Pertaining to that term, genre, it is wholly impossible to simply place this film in a genre or use tried and true genre terminology to categorize it. It is a film that says so much in an understated way, is uproariously funny, and features onscreen violence that will make even the most jaded of cinema goers squirm. Macon Blair’s film is a full on assault on complacency, masculinity, assholes, and with the emotional backbone of how no one deserves to feel alone in the world.
The plot revolves around Ruth, played to a tee by Melanie Lynskey, who is a mild mannered nursing assistant whose privacy is infringed upon when her house is robbed. Due to circumstances she then teams up with an awkward combat and weaponry obsessed man named Tony, and Elijah Wood as Tony is perfect casting. He makes this weird character so lovable and really sells the underplayed humor of the character. Also, Tony’s rat tail should win an award. Eventually, these two characters find themselves in over their heads with some bad people and utter chaos ensues. This film deserves to be seen unspoiled so that the twists and absurdity can be fully appreciated, and the humor in this film deserves to be experienced with no prior regard to the context of the jokes that are on display. It is utterly entertaining and weirdly intense due to the fact that as the film progresses one begins to care for the two main heroes of the film. They just want the assholes of the world to get what they deserve! Macon Blair’s script is full of deep characterization for the characters the film spends the most time with, and through great visual storytelling/ mise en scène the characters become layered, and feel quite real despite the unreality of the situations they find themselves in.
Macon Blair’s direction is what really ties this film together, and keeps it from going completely off the rails. He reigns the camera in and does not rely on quick editing, an abundance of shot reverse shots, or unnecessary shaking of the camera. For as crazy as the film is, the camerawork itself is rather timid and flows to a slower paced filmic rhythm. Long takes are consistent and used to great effect, wide shots are numerous and beautifully staged, all of the action is kept within frame and easy to watch, and depth of field is used in an interesting way in that the changes in depth of field throughout the film correlate with the state of mind of the main character, Ruth. When all of the elements that make up this film are put together then you get a brilliantly weird, aberrant, and starkly violent piece of genre film making that demands your attention, and will leave you with a giddy smile on your face long after the film comes to a close. It is currently on Netflix, they own the distribution rights, so do yourself a favor and embrace the absurdity of this film and enjoy every second of it!