Leave the World Behind: A Film That Promotes Intrigue

15 January 2024 / by Kanyesigye Collins
Leave the World Behind Review
Leave the World Behind: A Film That Promotes Intrigue
Does the film try to unveil a certain mystery? Or is it just another fantasy creation? You choose!

Does the film try to unveil a certain mystery? Or is it just another fantasy creation? You choose!


The year 2023 was a year filled with blockbuster movies with big names of directors and actors in Hollywood on screens. As nominations for big awards are over with and the crowning days are underway, I can safely guess that Leave the World Behind will feature as an outstanding viewers’ choice.


The film is adapted from Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel and is produced by Julia Roberts, Marisa Yeris Gill, Lisa Gillan, Sam Esmail and Chad Hamilton. Barrack and Michelle Obama feature as Executive Producers of the film.


Julia Roberts returns to screens with a stroke of genius as a mean, white privileged and unsympathetic advertising executive. Mahershala Ali, the 2016 (Moonlight) and 2018 (Greenbook) Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor, brings his charisma to the screen. Ethan Hawke, with yet another convincing performance, plays Media Studies professor Clay Sandford and also husband to Amanda (Julia Roberts). Myha’la Herrold who plays Ruth and daughter of G.H. Scott (Marheshala Ali) paints a perfect picture of a millennial, self-loathing, contemporary American child. Farrah MacKenzie and Charles Evans also star in the film as Clay and Amanda’s children. MacKenzie’s performance is breathtaking.


Leave the World Behind scores big on cinematography. The film comes with interesting camera angles and movements, with moments of beautiful framing that deliver a strong, suspenseful and captivating viewership.  The creativity of the camera angles is so good that even the common and usual camera moments are sinister. Every camera movement is maximized. Tod Campbell, a renowned cinematographer for his work in Stranger Things, Mr. Robot and Boyhood delivers in Leave the World Behind.


The film is written and directed by Sam Esmail, best known for his directing master class in the Award-winning series, Mr. Robot. The director takes the viewer on a mystic journey whilst creating dynamic and intense moments.


The film serves to address a number of concerns; human behaviour in a crisis situation, the fragile nature of technology in the modern world, the essential nature of some abstract entities, and what happens when our everyday life as we know it is about to end. This film pushes the viewer toward emotion, intrigue and fragility. The ending is not satisfactory in the eyes of some viewers, and to some, the movie lacks in character development. 


Leave the World Behind may not be your everyday internet-breaking, blockbuster sensation, but it is surely a creative genius in its own right.


The film is rated 76% on Rotten Tomatoes with a running time of 2hrs 20m.


You can stream the film on Netflix.