The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE | The Movie Waffler


A woman attempts to track down the burglars who ransacked her home.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Macon Blair

Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy

As an actor, Macon Blair came to prominence for his lead role in director Jeremy Saulnier's acclaimed revenge thriller Blue Ruin. For his debut as writer-director, Blair further explores the theme of an out of depth everyday schmo seeking vengeance against experienced criminals, but with far less successful results.

Taking its name from a rather anti-humanistic gospel song, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore introduces us to Ruth (Melanie Lynskey), a nursing assistant who prides herself on being a good person, yet appears to have few friends. The little things that might mildly irritate most of us - shoppers putting unwanted groceries back on the wrong shelf, dogs fouling her lawn, someone revealing the ending of the book she's reading - really get under Ruth's skin, so much so that she proclaims "Everyone is an asshole!"

When Ruth returns home one day to find her house broken into and her laptop, a silver service set with sentimental value, and, tellingly, some medicine stolen, the seeming indifference of the local police tips her over the edge. Teaming up with her oddball neighbour Tony (Elijah Wood), whose hobbies include martial arts, heavy metal and church-going, she sets out to track down the stolen items and confront those responsible for the violation.

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore begins as a satirical black comedy in the vein of Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America, but as Ruth's quest for justice progresses, it approaches Falling Down territory, with a Taxi Driver inspired climactic burst of bloodshed. This rapid escalation is jarring, yet Blair seems more comfortable with the revenge thriller aspect of his film than the comedy, which is weakly written and staged.

Lynskey may unfortunately be best known for a recurring role on TV's milque-toast sitcom Two and a Half Men, but anyone who witnessed her turn in 2012's underseen Hello I Must Be Going will be aware of her strengths as both a comic and dramatic performer. Though Blair offers Lynskey her biggest role since that movie, he fails to exploit her talents, with Ruth often feeling like a bystander in her own story, her character little more than an awkward female riff on Michael Douglas's D-Fens. Wood is also wasted in a role that initially looks like a character actor's dream, but ultimately rings hollow, nothing more than a small bag of quirks. The relationship between the two is underdeveloped; they share scenes and physical space, but when there's such a lack of chemistry between two talented actors, the finger of blame can only be pointed at the script.

In a quick cameo, Blair reminds us what an engaging and unique presence he is as an actor, but on the evidence of his debut, as a writer-director he's as out of depth here as the vengeful protagonist he played in his signature Blue Ruin role.

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore is on Netflix now.