A timid nursing assistant gets a new lease on life when she and a neighborhood loner track down the degenerates who broke into her house.
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The Sundance Film Festival: birthplace of the careers of Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh and Darren Aronofsky; thriving hub of independent American cinema; Netflix’s new hunting ground. Up-and-coming filmmakers used to dream of deals with Miramax or New Line, but now Netflix is arguably the best bet to have your film seen, and the streaming giant has joined the Sundance game in a big bad way.
One of Netflix’s most notable acquisitions out of this January’s festival was “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore”, the Grand Jury Prize winning directorial debut of Macon Blair. Blair is most well known for his acting work in the films of Jeremy Saulnier (“Blue Ruin” and “Green Room”) and he channels Saulnier’s penchant for darkly comic thrillers with this postmodern revenge tale.
Melanie Lynskey plays Ruth, a nursing assistant fed up with the obnoxious bozos with which she has to share this world. Smoke-spewing 4x4s, people who use the quick checkout at the supermarket with five times the 15 item limit, dog mess on her lawn: these are all niggling frustrations for Ruth. But, when her house is burgled, it all starts to boil over and she recruits Elijah Wood’s nunchaku-wielding Tony to hunt down her stolen possessions.
Lynskey and Wood make for a great central duo. Lynskey is an actor whose way with language has always come across as awkward to me. She feels uncomfortable when tasked with an American accent – as she is here – yet somehow feels even more stilted when wielding her native New Zealand twang. Yet, that very verbal discomfort conveys a more tangible sense of social anxiety than any number of tic-y physical performances could ever hope to achieve. Which makes her an increasingly valuable actress in 2017, and a fine fit for this film. Wood has his own eccentricities, and I can’t see myself ever tiring of watching him in this type of role. He does unhinged child-men like virtually no one else.
“I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” doesn’t have the lasting power of any of the Sundance greats and the film feels increasingly Coen Brothers lite as it reaches its fumblingly chaotic finale, but Blair’s sharp cynicism is frequently very entertaining.
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