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I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Year: 2017
Production Co: Film Science
Studio: Netflix
Director: Macon Blair
Writer: Macon Blair
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood

I watched this movie because I love Melanie Lynskey and will watch her in anything. Ironically however, I like very few of the movies she appears in as her tastes usually run to those Joe Swanberg inflected mumblecore hipster dramas I can't stand (Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick are other usual offenders).

So it was a pleasant surprise that this film actually had a plot aside from privileged young white people sitting around trying to deconstruct their lives while apparently not having jobs and inserting the word 'like' into every sentence 100 times. Not only that, the plot it has is kind of exciting.

For the first half it looks like the usual droll disaffected Gen X fable. Ruth (Lynskey) is a perpetual woman-child, insular and lonely and quietly disgusted with the lack of simple human decency she sees around her, and when her house is broken into and the police don't seem too bothered about helping making her feel safer, the new sense of vulnerability makes her feel even more alone.

Around the same time, she confronts the weirdo neighbour who lets his dog shit on her lawn once too often, Tony (Elijah Wood). Against the real-world offs but very much in keeping with movie logic, the inarticulate lost souls somehow feel a tenuous connection.

It starts when Tony – who seems to be somewhere between an emotional misfit and firmly on the spectrum – offers to help her retrieve her stolen stuff (which she can pinpoint courtesy of an app on her laptop that gives her its location), and before long the pair are firm friends.

The film then kicks into another gear when their quest puts them afoul of the shady criminal gang who are behind the break-in, and instead of being about self-indulgent hipsters it turns into a thriller that just happens to have two self-indulgent hipsters in it.

It leads to a climactic stand-off in an opulent house with the scary gang and a chase through a dark wood, gunfire and a gruesome snake attack, much of which is surprisingly well-earned.

It makes the rest of the movie fun, interesting and (gasp) even a little exciting after the first half has effectively set up characters for you to care about, and while it's not a thriller on par with Silence of the Lambs by any stretch, it's much more entertaining that you expect.

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