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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Leave the World Behind (2023) - A Dim Spark in the Dark

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)

Released 12-22-2023

Watched 12-24-2023

Reviewed 12-27-2023

Watch on Netflix

"A conspiracy theory about a shadowy group of people running the world is far to lazy of an explanation... especially when the truth is much scarier."

"Leave the World Behind," a 2023 apocalyptic thriller directed by Sam Esmail and boasting a star-studded cast including Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Kevin Bacon, and Ethan Hawke, promised much but delivered little beyond surface-level tension and an underwhelming narrative.

Set against the backdrop of a mysterious global blackout, the film explores the intersection of two families' lives during a crisis. The premise, while initially intriguing, quickly devolves into a tired rehash of the well-worn 'end-of-the-world' genre. Despite the combined talents of its acclaimed cast, the characters feel underdeveloped, and their interactions, meant to be the core of the movie, lack depth and believability.

What's most disappointing is the film's ending. It leaves many questions unanswered, failing to provide a satisfying conclusion to the narrative threads it weaves. This lack of resolution might have been forgivable if the journey to that point had been more engaging, but unfortunately, the plot meanders without much purpose. The film's attempt to delve into the psychological impacts of a crisis and the breakdown of societal norms feels shallow, never truly exploring these themes in a meaningful way.

While the cinematography and direction show flashes of brilliance, reminiscent of Esmail's previous work on "Mr. Robot," they're not enough to elevate the film beyond its fundamental narrative shortcomings. The potential for a gripping, thought-provoking thriller was there, but "Leave the World Behind" fails to capitalize on it, leaving viewers with a sense of what could have been rather than what is.

In summary, while the movie might appeal to die-hard fans of the actors or the genre, it's a forgettable addition to the apocalyptic thriller landscape. It's a film that dares to ask big questions but shies away from providing any meaningful answers, ultimately leaving viewers unsatisfied and perhaps a bit frustrated. Watch if you dare, but you have been warned - there's little here that hasn't been seen before and done better.


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