Combustible Celluloid
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With: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy, Devon Graye, Christine Woods, Robert Longstreet, Gary Anthony Williams, Myron Natwick, Derek Mears, Jason Manuel Olazabal, Lee Eddy, Matt Orduna, Michelle Moreno
Written by: Macon Blair
Directed by: Macon Blair
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 96
Date: 02/24/2017

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Not Your Lawn Tiger

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Netflix snapped up this movie, lickety-split, from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and gave it a streaming premiere before festival goers could even stamp the snow out of their boots. The wonderful, unsung New Zealand-born actress Melanie Lynskey stars in I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017) as Ruth Kimke, a nursing assistant who has a very bad day. A patient dies in front of her (after some nasty, vulgar last words), a man in a bar ruins a huge plot twist in a book she's reading, and, to top it off, her home is burgled. The cops do little but scold her for not locking up tighter, but when her phone shows the location of her stolen laptop, she enlists a wacko neighbor, Tony (a perfect Elijah Wood), who has a collection of ninja throwing stars, to help get it back.

From there, they find clues leading to the rest of her stolen goods, mainly her grandmother's silverware, but — not to give away any plot twists — things take a very weird turn. This is the directorial debut of actor Macon Blair, notable for his performances in Jeremy Saulnier's films Blue Ruin and Green Room; Blair also wrote the screenplay, and it cannily, and hilariously deals in life's most mundane sorrows and searchings. This is the kind of stuff that most movies simply ignore, but the stuff that all of us endure every day. Blair's vision is observant and true, but also wildly creative and entertaining. The movie's shift in tone from its first half to its second can be shocking, but, eventually, strangely satisfying.

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