I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore asks the question: why can’t people stop being dicks? Why do decent folk have to suffer through the shit that complete asshats put them through every day? And what happens when they’ve had enough?
Directed by Macon Blair, who has made his name from his collaborations with Jeremy Saulnier, I Don’t Feel At Home… makes it clear that he has either played a part in his friend’s vision or been heavily inspired by it. Like Saulnier’s work, this is twisted and vicious but can flip on a dime and be hilarious as well. It’s set in a world where people think they are tough but in reality are a bit useless. Get in a fight with them, and they are as likely to knock themselves out as they are to cause you any damage.
In the middle of all of this is Ruth Kimke, played by Two and a Half Men’s Melanie Lynskey with a weary resignation. After a tough day, she comes home to find her house has been robbed and someone has made off with a computer and her grandmother’s silverware. When it becomes apparent that the police couldn’t give less of a shit, she decides to track down the perpetrators herself and along the way picks up Elijah Wood’s Tony to help her out. The two of them find themselves in a situation that doesn’t so much leave them floundering in the deep end but drops them off the pier with a weight tied to their ankles.
Lynskey’s performance is the scene stealer here. She screams fuck off to the world but without ever raising her voice. She is fed up, and apparently, no one cares. All she wants are the people at her work to be nicer, her fellow customers in the bar to think about others and her neighbours to stop letting their dogs shit on her lawn. She has had it up to here with the world’s crap (literally in the case of the dogs), and this robbery is the line that has been crossed. It’s time to take her mild temper out into the world.
She’s ably assisted in this by Elijah Wood who plays Tony with a wide-eyed naivety. Obsessed with heavy metal and martial arts it’s his blundering which introduces the first real violence to the film, and it’s from there that everything begins to ramp up. An obsession with nunchucks certainly helps, but he’s all blundering uselessness. Even when he is dealing out damage, it all feels a bit accidental. That is until the final scene which is as funny as it is shocking when the shit hits the pan and the blood begins squirting.
Blue Ruin showed that Macon Blair was an actor worth watching and I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore proves he has more than one string to his bow. Alongside Saulnier, it brings to mind Tarantino in its depiction of brutal blasts of violence. Yet, it is in the quieter funnier moments that he really shines. There is a heart to this centre of the film and it’s the characters that make it. It’s the perfect film to sit back with and curse the world.
Verdict: Hall of Fame