I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

  • Time: 93 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Macon Blair
  • Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Chris Doubek, Marilyn Faith Hickey


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.

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  • Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and further evidence of Netflix’s emergence as an industry power player, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is an assured directorial debut for writer Macon Blair, an intriguing marriage of character study and violent comedy, and, most significantly, an excellent showcase for the scintillating Melanie Lynskey who, whilst not as widely well-known as Heavenly Creatures’ co-star Kate Winslet, has nevertheless forged a strong reputation as one of film and television’s most reliable and welcome presences.

    Lynskey stars as Ruth Kimke, a nursing assistant who silently tolerates the numerous little injustices life keeps throwing her way, whether it be sitting in traffic, having people cut in front of her at the grocery store, or having to clean up the dog poop that is constantly left on her yard. She reaches her “I’m as mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore” moment when she arrives home one day to find her home burgled with her anti-depressant medication, laptop and grandmother’s silverware amongst the stolen items. Frustrated at the police’s disinterest in catching the thieves, she takes matters into her own hands, using an app on her phone to locate and her laptop and enlisting the aid of her oddball neighbour Tony (Elijah Wood), a rat-tailed, heavy metal-loving karate enthusiast.

    Ruth and Tony are the unlikeliest of badasses and their plan, such as it is, lands the pair in the company of some very shady and dangerous characters, all of whom are no strangers to breaking fingers and worse when things don’t go their way. Indeed, the film’s gallery of junkies, crooks and other lowlifes wouldn’t be out of place in last year’s thriller Green Room, for which Blair wrote the screenplay and to which I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore feels like a tangential companion piece. There’s a certain amount of whiplash in how Blair swerves the narrative into the film’s more violent and gory second half, and many would argue that one never really settles into the transition. When one takes a step back, it’s almost impossible to comprehend how the film ends up where it does – the last half hour may have more dead bodies than Hamlet’s final act and even has room to include a snake in the mix – considering where it started. Yet Blair has a sure hold on the tale he is telling and the darkly comedic tone in which he conveys it.

    Wood contributes a great supporting turn as the Chinese star-flinging and nunchuck-handling Tony, whose initial weirdness is just a facade for his loneliness. Lynskey is pitch perfect, perfectly embodying the accidental vigilante who’s fed up with all the inconsiderate people in the world and who just wants to make things right for herself.

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