I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is as scrappy as they come, colouring within the lines of the comic thriller, while also gunning for something more intellectually engaging. Like its unwieldy title, it aims to tackle the misanthropy of a downtrodden nursing assistant when she comes home to find her laptop, silverware and anti-depressants stolen by intruders. Why are people so shitty sometimes? Heck, why does the world work against people who don’t deserve to be randomly victimised and shunted aside? These questions pop into Ruth Kimke’s mind, but she’s not going to sit around and mope over them. For someone who is otherwise content to live each day invisibly, this violation of her personal space awakens a spark of outright indignation. She’s not going to stand for it. Come hell or high water, she’s going to find the thieves, get her stuff back, and make them pay for it in ways that aren’t monetary.
Macon Blair is heavily indebted to his frequent collaborator Jeremy Saulnier for both the tone and framing of this film, which, while much funnier than Saulnier’s output, is not afraid to dig into the violent aspects of the human condition. The incredible Melanie Lynskey is utterly convincing as a woman who’ll stand at nothing to confront evil when pissed off, despite being fairly meek otherwise, and so much of the fun in watching this is seeing Lynskey’s character take charge against an indifferent universe. Also onboard is a delightful Elijah Wood in full weirdo mode, with a rattail and nunchucks to boot, helping Lynskey’s Ruth find justice when no one else will. When you think of natural screen pairings, I don’t think anybody would immediately consider Lynskey and Wood, yet here they are with a confident chemistry and plenty of subtle repartee.
I liked how lean this is—there’s really no fat on the script’s bones. The pacing is fluid, with a cause-and-effect approach to the action that keeps it moving well, and there are only a couple of scenes that go on for too long (though most of them are towards the end). There’s nothing revelatory about what occurs or the ideas explored, and Blair’s style is not altogether accomplished as of yet. Somehow that doesn’t matter. There’s a pluck and punch to this that makes the minutes whizz by, and I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. For a Netflix original film, honestly, you could do much, much worse than this.