Leave The World Behind is directed by Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot, The Resort, Gaslit) and stars Ethan Hawke, Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and to my surprise, Kevin Bacon. I honestly thought that guy only acted in electric car commercials with his Gen-Z kid anymore. And I thought that Julia Roberts had retired from acting in any real-life films that didn’t star her movie husband, George Clooney. Anyway, moving on.
The plot of Leave the World Behind, set to be released in select theaters in November and to drop on Netflix on December 8, 2024 is described as follows:
A family’s getaway to a luxurious rental home takes an ominous turn when a cyberattack knocks out their devices, and two strangers appear at their door.
If you watch the trailer, understanding that we all live in a post-Black Lives Matter world, the premise is fairly obvious for what will happen in the plot. The part of the two-minute trailer that had me laughing out loud was the scene where all the electric Teslas are crowding the superhighway because, in a real-world cyberattack, the Upper West Side vacationer to the Hamptons wouldn’t be able to start their environmentally friendly vehicle to get the heck back to the Upper West side of Manhattan.
Speaking of the audience for this film, how much do you want to bet that there’s a scene of Mahershala Ali and Julia Roberts trying to either seduce or intimidate each other?
A Film To Appeal To Mask Wearers
Leave the World Behind is a streaming film designed to appeal to the New Yorker crowd. You know the type: the Upper West Side of Manhattan cinema-goer who can’t figure out how Donald Trump is still in the Republican primary.
This is the same person who hasn’t left his posh apartment in the last three years without wearing a face diaper. This is the person who will be able to identify with Julia Robert’s querulously delivered question about wanting to know “What is the truth?” But this is the same person who won’t be well-read enough to know that Pontious Pilate asked that about 2,000 years ago and didn’t get an answer then either.
The book this is based on, written by Rumaan Alam, who also wrote the screenplay, was hailed by, the New Yorker, as being “enthralling.” It was nominated for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2020. Which makes the Netflix film art, for those of you who wondering.
End Of The World Anxiety
End of the world, dystopian thrillers have always been with us as filmgoers. Starting in the 1950s though, a subtle turn was made to make such movies allegorical tales about whatever the current zeitgeist was of the era they were made in. This leads to the end of the world, dystopian thrillers either not aging well (i.e., They Live!) or no longer being relevant once the dystopic circumstances appear in real life and we’ve all adapted out here (i.e., Bladerunner).
But now, with our current political posture towards everything entertainment in the West, end of the world, dystopian thrillers are going to remain the provenance of the hard, progressive left, designed for those audiences to assuage their anxiety about the shifts in an online, social media driven world they don’t understand that they laid the keel for.
The fact is, if World War Three breaks out with a cyberattack softening of the United States by either Russia or China, Ethan Hawke will comfortably situated in a bug-out shelter somewhere in an undisclosed location in New Zealand right next to Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and too everyone’s surprise, Kevin Bacon.
Meanwhile, you and I will have to clean up the traffic jam of electric cars on the Long Island Expressway just to get to work.
Another thanks to Gary Sanchez for this article.
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