** SPOILERS: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ‘LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND’ ON NETFLIX, DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE UNLESS YOU WANT THE FILM SPOILED. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. **
Recently on Netflix, the platform released one of their most anticipated movies of the year with the goal of delivering some decent content and preventing people from cancelling their membership for at least another month. The movie is called LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND and is based on the novel by Rumaan Alam that was released in 2020.The movie stars Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, and Mahershala Ali. The movie is directed by Sam Esmail, an up-and-coming director who is most famously known for creating the incredible techno futurist, four season thriller MR. ROBOT. This post will dive into a review of this film followed by an analysis and evaluation of the story and some interesting observations about this film, political events and the future it seems to be showing us.
LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND starts innocently enough. A stressed-out wife played by Julia Roberts makes reservations at a luxury home on Long Island to get away from the city and relax with her husband Ethan Hawke and two children played by Farrah Mackenzie and Charlie Evans. Upon settling down and enjoying the beautiful beach, which is part of their rental’s backyard, the film begins its transition into a disaster movie. An out-of-control tanker crashes into the beach which begins a series of events that the family cannot explain. As the distress increases, the owner of the home played by Mahershala Ali and his daughter played by Myla’La come to seek shelter from the disaster unfolding all around them. As a straight up thriller that has apocalyptic undertones throughout, the movie does a great job building up the intensity. At first, Julia Robert’s Amanda is very distrustful of the newcomers. This tension is slowly relieved as the tragedies increase and the need to depend on each other becomes vital to everyone’s survival. The movie has one specific problem though. As the resolution of the story is occurring on Kevin Bacon’s doorstep, the reveal of what happened is going to leave a lot of viewers unsatisfied. As a film, the structure and story make the 140 minutes fly by. The cinematography and music is fantastic. But there are decisions made revolving around the unfolding disaster that came across as utterly ridiculous (The overused stampede and large gathering of animals and the pool flamingos). Plus, there is one gigantic problem. The movie was produced by HIGHER GROUND Productions which was founded by Barack and Michelle Obama. Because of the involvement of an ex-president, it muddles the ending of the movie when the cause of the disaster is finally revealed. As a person who is always open-minded about films and what a writer or filmmaker is trying to tell me, my brain began to wonder about this film’s purpose. And some of these questions that lead to my hesitancy to endorse this movie need to be answered because an evaluation of a movie that is produced by an ex-president must consider the political angle and point of view that was revealed.
The big TWIST in this film is that the United States is undergoing a cyberattack. This attack leads to the crippled oil tanker beaching itself right outside their rental home. Later in the film, a few more bizarre events occur. Planes end up crashing near Ali’s character upon visiting a neighbor’s home. Tesla’s begin to auto-drive and crash into themselves on the nearby parkway. Hawke’s character Clay drives off and gets bombarded by a drone dropping leaflets in Arabic. The final moment revolves around Ali’s character explaining a “secret” program that apparently was going to be used to destroy nation-states around the world. It was a three-step program that starts with a cyber attack and leads to a Civil War. But the attack only commences once the nation is “weak enough” for it to be initiated.
This movie has led to quite a few evaluations on its subject matter. If Esmail had been able to direct the movie, I believe he wanted to make, I think the nations or organizations behind the “cyberattack” would not have been clearly defined. The movie would have worked better if an explanation had never been given, nor the antagonists ever discovered. Horror always works better when less information is revealed. The movie can still be seen this way if you dismiss certain events as “disinformation” which Ali said is a key component of the enemy’s attack. But, Barack Obama, who was a gigantic fan of the book, gave away the film’s purpose in an interview. Here are a few quotes from this article about the making of this picture which shows that our ex-president had a very hands on producer role in terms of creating its underlying reality.
“In the original drafts of the script, I definitely pushed things a lot farther than they were in the film, and President Obama, having the experience he does have, was able to ground me a little bit on how things might unfold in reality,” Esmail said to Vanity Fair.
This is the final quote from Ali’s character at the end that gives away the underlying story.
“This (Defense) program was considered the most cost-effective way to destabilize a country because if the target nation was dysfunctional enough it would do the work for you. Whoever started this, wants us to finish it.”
In the film, there is a comment made by a character about whether the “elites” are behind this attack. After considering this for about a whole second, this idea is quickly blown off. Ali’s character is more concerned that no one is in charge at all. In the real world where a medical elite recently shut down the entire world for over a year for a virus with a 99.9% survival rate, this aspect of “no one being in control” is hard to stomach. The problem we have in the present day is our leaders’ need for control. Many governments are making the push to control the last bit of freedom that most people have: their minds and body. Plus, if you read the news even badly, our elites are warning us all the time about future apocalyptic events.
Global Instability Will Lead to Cyberattacks from the WEF
Reporter believes a black swan event will occur in 2024
Doomsday Clock Warns World of Catastrophe in 2024
If I posted all the threats of nuclear bomb usage, I would have another half a dozen links. But going back to my main point, why did this movie need to be made? And if there was a cyberattack on the United States, wouldn’t it make the most sense that our own government participated in some fashion in its continued war against the people? We already know that Dr. Fauci’s ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE funded the creation of COVID-19. I would have liked the movie more if the reality of the situation is that the United States initiated the cyberattack to begin its final descent into full blown authoritarianism. It would have made more sense than the movie we got.
The other flaw with this movie is its underlying cynicism. I always saw Obama as a cynic during his presidency. It was the one thing that drove me nuts about his personality. This movie reflects some of Obama’s personal viewpoints.
There is a short scene where Ali’s daughter warns him about this family because they are WHITE. This is the only time it is brought up as the families quickly unite after this comment.
Kevin Bacon’s character is meant to be an unsympathetic, right-wing survivalist who is supposed to be the antagonist during the last scene. His distrustful point of view and lecture about protecting his own family made him sympathetic to me. But I do not believe this was the point. I believe Esmail, Obama, and Netflix want us to see him as a villain. The type of villain that you live around every day inside the United States of America. Here is another article that dives into this idea especially regarding the Obama’s elitism.
My personal favorite contemplation regarding this movie involves deception. Could Obama by creating a fictional movie be showing us a glimpse into our future? But when confronted with this observation, he denies that is the purpose. But it really is the purpose. Take this as an example.
“Whereas animal lures are straightforward, the human being is unique in being capable of a special kind of lure which involves a ‘double deception.’ This is a kind of lure which involves deceiving by pretending to deceive (i.e. telling a truth that one expects to be taken for a lie)…The classic example of the properly human lure is the joke quoted by Freud (and often cited by Lacan) about the two Polish Jews: ‘Why do you tell me you are going to Cracow so I’ll believe you are going to Lvov, when you are really going to Cracow?’…Other animals are incapable of this special kind of lure owing to the fact that they do not possess language.”
Is LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND a lure? Or is it just a harmless disaster movie with no actual agenda? That, my readers is up to you to decide.
EXPERT OF SOME