I am at my third Sundance Film Festival. These are my reviews. Follow me on Twitter @bayerjeff.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Plot (courtesy of Sundance):
U.S.A., 2016, 97 min., color
When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves, alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Macon Blair
PRINCIPAL CAST: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy, Devon Graye
Review: It feels like director/writer Blair went to school when he was working with director/writer Jeremy Saulnier. This is a wonderful thing for the film title that you should say over and over again until you officially have it memorized, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. It is such a strong start for a director that it’s hard not to think about his influences. Thankfully, that can be after enjoying the hell out of this movie.
Everyone’s favorite (I swear I haven’t met anyone at Sundance who doesn’t light up when you say her name), Lynskey, gives an incredibly strong performance as Ruth. She’s a nurse who is sick of the assholes in the world. The film starts with all of the little things that do (or should) drive us nuts about other people happening over and over again to her. You know it’s just a matter of time before she snaps. She joins up with Tony (Wood) after throwing dog shit in his direction. Don’t worry, he deserved it. This is the kind of character that seems perfect for Wood, though I can’t say I’ve seen this side of him. He’s angry, remorseful, shy, Christian, and ready to punch. Tony ends up being the motivation for Ruth to not take anyone’s crap anymore. She doesn’t realize the darkness that truly lurks near her.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore keeps turning up a notch, with Blair getting great performances from actors I didn’t recognize. There are guns, knives, snakes, and at the center Ruth is having a push and pull with whether she wants to be in this deep or is being dragged down.
When a coach has an assistant or former player do well, the coach is referenced. Blair might have this happen for a while with Saulnier. Who the hell cares? This is good art, and a very strong directorial debut. It’s also a title I will (hopefully) remember.