Leave The World Behind Review

Thursday 14 December 2023


Plot: A family's getaway to a luxurious rental home takes an ominous turn when a cyberattack knocks out their devices, and two strangers appear at their door.

Film: Leave The World Behind

Director: Sam Esmail

Writers: Rumaan Alam, Sam Esmail

Starring: Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke

“Leave the World Behind,” is suspenseful, psychological thriller, with the general mechanics of the post-apocalyptic genre.


After Amanda (Julia Roberts), announces that she ‘fucking hates people’ as she stares jadedly from the window of her luxury Brooklyn apartment, she takes her family; husband Clay (Ethan Hawke) and children Rose (Farrah Mackenzie) and Archie (Charlie Evans) to a lavish Long Island mansion for the weekend. 


This film plays heavily on the unknown, for a long time you aren’t sure what’s going on and who are to blame, but during the longer-than-necessary-runtime of two hours and twenty minutes, fingers are pointed even if clear answers aren’t given. 


After the first strange incident occurs, the Sanford family are shaken further by the appearance of two strangers in the middle of the night -claiming to be the owners of the house they’re staying in. G.H. Scott (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter Ruth (Myha'la) have suddenly returned due to a city-wide blackout afflicting New York.

The tension between the Sandford’s and the Scott’s is probably the hardest thing to watch in this disaster flick. I don’t think I’ve ever dislike Julia Roberts on screen this much, she really was awful and unsympathetic to the struggles of G.H. and his daughter, who were very much struggling with the current situation in their own way, considering their wife and mother was missing.

The main strength of this film comes from the style elements, the cinematography and special effects are beautiful. The scene of the oil tanker running up on the beach, a plane falling from the sky and there’s an excellent car-chase style scene where the Sanford’s must avoid self-driving Tesla’s that sacrificing themselves to block the roads. While I thought that the story lacked substance in places, I never felt let down by the visuals.


As someone who is a self-proclaimed fan of a disaster film, I enjoyed this one just fine. It won’t change your life, but it does have one of the most hilariously mundane endings to an apocalyptic feature I’ve ever seen and if you have a Netflix subscription already, you have nothing to lose.

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