Review: Leave the World Behind (2023)


As one of the billions of fans of Mr. Robot, after seeing the trailer and finding out the film had direct connections to the show… well, there was no way I wasn’t going to throw this on the moment I could.

I enjoyed it quite a bit, there were moments where it felt like it dragged on a bit too long. And I think part of what made me feel that way was that the film doesn’t hide it’s sinister intent: right from the opening credits everything is cast in suspenseful music and suspicious moments.

As viewers, we know a bad mystery is about to unfold, and we’re left watching as the characters catch up to where the audience is. So when the story takes the time to spend with the characters, I find I don’t care as much unless their interactions directly inform the greater situation.

Admittedly, it ALL matters, in an abstract sense. Looking back, I can see where it fits into the film’s story. But more than once I found myself looking to see where I was in the film’s runtime. Something I’ve found to often be a bad sign. Not always, but it was one here…

But these moments are spread apart. Typically it keeps the mystery unfolding enough to keep things interesting.

The cast is decent and nuanced. Except for the son character who exists to be a dumb, cruel big brother. Thankfully the bulk of the bad things happen to him. He’s kind of disposable from a story/audience standpoint, so good call? (Through no fault of the actor, of course. It’s just how he was written.)

But my biggest criticism and disappointment: it gets far too blunt with the ‘message’. The film literally has characters verbally exposit the core messages — telling us things that should be explicit in the story and not directly spoken. It came dangerously close to having “MESSAGE INCOMING, PAY ATTENTION VIEWER” flash along the bottom, like the EAS alert on the TV. Have some faith in the audience, for chrissakes.

Still, the film’s gorgeous cinematography makes it’s intriguing and terrifyingly realistic plot (as far as cinematic hacking exploits go) a real treat. Definitely worth a go; a decent, frightening epilogue to Mr. Robot, if it’s literally intended to be that on some level.

And even if it wasn’t intended, it works quite well as one.

(I also have to wonder if this was intended to be split into four 30-minute episodes: it’s split up into “PART 1: CHAPTER TITLE” cards. 🤔)