Director: Macon Blair
Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Chris Doubek, Marilyn Faith Hickey, Elijah Wood
There has been some ‘buzz’ about this film recently, due to it winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2017 just a month ago. To my shock and surprise, the film arrived on US Netflix yesterday. Not even with any fanfare – I had to search for it and only knew it was there because of Twitter. Apparently it was always the plan for it to be released on Netflix at this time, but as someone used to waiting for festival hits for up to a year, this does seems refreshing, if not a little unsettling. We know that Netflix and Amazon are producing more of their own original material, particularly TV series. Netflix have recently debuted indie films such as ‘The Fundamentals of Caring’ and ‘Tallulah’ and Amazon were behind recent Oscar-nominated ‘Manchester by the Sea’. So, it is time for these streaming services to be taken more seriously as film distribution companies.
So, lets get to the film. Ruthie (Melanie Lynskey) is a nursing assistant having an existential crisis about herself and the world (hence the title). After putting up with a man spoiling the book series she’s enjoying and dogs pooping on her front lawn, Ruthie’s beloved Grandmother’s silver is stolen from her home and this proves to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The police seem disinterested and so Ruthie decides to take matters into her own hands. She recruits her neighbour, Tony (Elijah Wood) as her sidekick/back-up and seeks some vigilante justice. Of course, things go awry and start to spiral violently out of control.
Melanie Lynskey made a big impression co-starring with Kate Winslet in Peter Jackson’s ‘Heavenly Creatures’ at the age of 16. She went on to supporting turns in “chick-flicks” ‘Ever After’, ‘Coyote Ugly’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. In more recent years, she has been appearing in a greater range of art-house and independent films, as well as television. Since starring in a slightly more well-known series of Peter Jackson films, Elijah Wood has had an even more interesting career. In the immediate post-‘Lord of the Rings’ period, he chose idiosyncratic, smaller films such as ‘Eternal Sunshine’, ‘Sin City’, ‘Green Street’ and ‘Bobby’. He recently has starred in two highly unusual TV series – ‘Wilfred’ and the US version of ‘Dirk Gently’. I really admire Wood’s choices, similar to Daniel Radcliffe, who could have trod an easier path in more mainstream fare, but both actors have gone out of their way to not be pigeon-holed. Lynskey and Wood have great chemistry in ‘I Don’t Feel At Home’, both playing misfits who team up to take on the gang of thieves. They find themselves dangerously out of their depth, but also pushing the boundaries of what they’re willing to do to show they won’t put up with this shit anymore. Tony relishes finally being able to put his arsenal of obscure weapons to use and Ruthie is awakened by having the new-found purpose of the man-hunt. The adventure escalates into enjoyably ridiculous territory, with all sides (including the police) being morally dubious.
This film is not for the squeamish – it does get increasingly gory and violent towards the end. It is also a funny and easy watch for a Friday night. I’m interested in this new release pattern in film – to go from a film festival to being watched at home within the space of a month seems bizarre now, but could become more common. We will have to see what the future holds.
Fiona’s Rating: 8 out of 10