‘Leave the World Behind’ Review: Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali in Sam Esmail’s Not Quite Satisfying Dystopian Vision.

Venue: AFI Fest
Cast: Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha’la, Farrah Mackenzie, Charlie Evans, Kevin Bacon
Director-screenwriter: Sam Esmail; based on the book by Rumaan Alam
Movie Duration: 2 hours 18 minutes

Leave the World Behind Movie Story

“Leave the World Behind” takes us on a journey with a New York family seeking solace in a Long Island rental home. Their peaceful vacation is disrupted when they encounter a looming environmental threat in the form of a massive oil tanker. As racial tensions and suspicions arise, they are further shaken by unexpected visitors, leading to a nightmarish chain of events.

Leave the World Behind: Direction

Sam Esmail, renowned for his work on “Mr. Robot,” guides the film’s dystopian narrative, drawing inspiration from classic films like “Jaws” and “Get Out.” While the story unfolds effectively, the heavy-handed treatment of political themes may leave some wanting for subtlety.

Leave the World Behind: Cast and Crew

The film boasts a talented cast featuring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, and emerging stars like Myha’la, Farrah Mackenzie, and Charlie Evans. Esmail’s direction and Rumaan Alam’s source material provide a solid foundation for this suspenseful dystopian tale.

What’s Good

The performances of the cast are commendable. Julia Roberts convincingly portrays Amanda, a character with complex layers. Mahershala Ali’s portrayal of the homeowner is riveting, and Myha’la’s presence enriches the film. The cinematography by Tod Campbell and production design by Anastasia White contribute to the film’s visual appeal.

What’s Bad

While the film effectively explores the disintegration of everyday life, it struggles to bring fresh insight to the dystopian genre. The heavy-handed score by Mac Quayle occasionally overshadows subtlety in the script

In conclusion, “Leave the World Behind” offers a high-class horror experience with its share of thrills, but it falls short of delivering groundbreaking perspectives. The film raises pertinent questions about societal divisions but fails to provide a wholly convincing outlook on a divided America.

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