I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE is a mouthful of a title. However, like most things in this debut from actor Macon Blair, it fits. Things begin rather plainly, though only to contrast with the mayhem to ensue. We see Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) go through the motions of an unsatisfactory life. She faces racist old people and reminders of mortality in her job as a nurses’ assistant. Some neighbor refuses to heed her sign and continues to allow their dog to defecate in her yard. Some asshole in a bar spoils the fantasy novel she’s ready (the jerk played, amusingly, by Blair himself). Then things turn from dour to troubling when she returns home in the midst of a robbery; not much is stolen but as she repeats, “it’s the violation, man”.

i dont feel at home in this world anymore title
“The way people treat each other is disgusting,” remarks Ruth, and the narrative is determined to show us just that. Filled with a supporting cast of wholly unlikeable characters – and soon to be immortal lines like “Have you ever eaten cat meat?” – Blair’s script has a rich vein of black comedy running through its system. At times the film is tonally all over the place, lurching from dark comedy to just plain dark, in a matter of beats. Yet there’s a sub-theme of escalation that this approach perfectly ties into. Dreamily shot, some so-soft-it’s-natural lighting and the use of lens flare in key sequences gives the film an ethereal feel, or the disconnected state that Ruth is perpetually in. Lynskey is wonderful as the lead, perfectly summing up depression as being “underneath a whirlpool and I can’t even breathe.” This single plaintive line encompasses her completely, but as she attempts to find her things and enact some justice, she slowly becomes as much a part of the cycle of assholery as everyone else. As she encounters a pack of dangerous criminals, everything starts to go horribly wrong for her in the best viscerally intense Coen Brothers tradition.

Macon Blair has worked with friend and fellow filmmaker Jeremy Saunier on both BLUE RUIN and GREEN ROOM. They share a penchant for a different type of jump scare — one’s that made out of shocking violence that results from genuine tension that has successfully been built up since the inciting incident that leads to a vengeful conquest. I will say that some of the scenes involving the skeptical detective didn’t sit well with me as the rest of the film.

Anytime Lynskey and Wood are together however, this is exactly the kind of low-key revenge story that anyone can find themselves getting caught up in. Lynskey is one of the very best actresses working today due to her restraint and naturalism. She’s not one of those actors that ever shouts “Look at me I’m acting!” She seeps into a character’s skin and finds a comfortable voice to share that is easy to connect with. That being said, ever since HEAVENLY CREATURES, Lynskey can combine gracefulness with a sense of impending menace when the occasion calls for it. In this case, especially once things climax with gory delights, both Lynskey and Wood really cast a spell even once new villains are introduced and it heads down a conventional confrontation. This is a very good debut from Blair, the kind of movie that immediately makes you want to see what he’ll do next. I like the overall thesis of “Why can’t people stop being assholes,” which of course in this political climate, seems more relevant to ask now more than ever.


  • 1 hr and 33 mins
  • Netflix


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