Sunday 17 December 2023

Leave the World Behind

Yesterday there was an explosion of activity in the online Conspirasphere about a new feature film that had just been released called Leave the World Behind. As usual I was contacted by a number of people recomending it to me and asking me for my opinion of it. It was apparently loaded with meaning and symbolism. I decided to watch it and see what all the fuss was about. The film is a dystopian drama that begins very mundanely as a family of four go off on a seaside holiday one summer, hiring a house in a coastal village. The mother is called Amanda and is played by the pleasant vintage of Julia Roberts. She is a deeply misanthropic person, in fact in the very first scene she utters the line: "I fucking hate people!" Her husband, Clay, played by Ethan Hawke, is a weak and subservient man who allows his wife to take a lead and push him around all the time. He also finds refuge in denial and mindless optimism. He actually reminds me very much of my own father. They have a teenage son and daughter, Archie and Rose. Rose is played by the same actress who plays Alice in Utopia, although obviously a few years older now, see: At first everything seems normal, until a ship runs aground on the beach. Then, soon afterwards, everybody is entirely cut off on all communications services; a fate in today's world that is similar to being marooned on a desert island. At the same time some wild animals begin acting strangely. Deer start approaching humans in large numbers, like dogs; flamingos fly long distances to places outside their normal habitat. Then when night falls a man and his daughter, GH and Ruth, knock on their door. They are the owners of the house the family leased who find themselves stranded. I mistakenly stated on Facebook that GH was played by Wesley Snipes, but it turns out the actor is called Mahershala Ali, somebody who looks a bit like him... So no vampires in this movie! It turns out that hackers are responsible for the network failures and those to blame are the Russians, North Koreans or Chinese, depending on which character you ask. Danny, a friend of GH played by Kevin Bacon, is a survivalist and has been preparing for this day for years. He has integrated all the moral dilemmas involved and has a ruthless "survival of the fittest" attitude that puts "Charles" to shame, see: Even the diminutive Clay develops a cold-blooded streak, abandoning a woman on the roadside when she comes up to his car pleading for help.
There is a lot of talk online about hidden messages and symbolism in the film. The wall pictures in the house charge for no apparent reason, and it's probably not just a mistake. Archie wears an Obey T-shirt, a brand known to be inspired by John Carpenter's They Live, see: Rose's has the NASA logo on hers. This is also not accidental; it is reminiscent of the costumes worn in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Other strange incidents take place. A plane drops leaflets in the area of setting, New York USA, that appear to be from Iran, but apparently similar leaflets are being dropped in other locations in the Korean language. This is regarded to be disinformation. The characters are also targeted with sonic and electromagnetic weapons. Archie becomes very ill as a result, with symptoms similar to those affected by "Havana syndrome". The ship that runs aground is called White Lion; in heraldry this refers to Scottish royalty. GH eventually reveals that he knows a political elitist who hints that "something big" is about to "go down". As always, I was on alert for cultural Marxist themes in the story. Almost every production has to have them these days and, from what I gather, the novel the film is based on is very politically correct... how else would it be picked up by a major publisher, see: I didn't detect anything excessive, although Ruth is a very belligerent person who sometimes express anti-white sentiments. She accuses Clay of trying to seduce her when, from the viewers perspective, he does nothing of the sort. It appears that everything going on is deliberate, a part of some kind of invasion or coup d'etat; although we never find out what exactly. There are a lot of plots that are left open-ended, in fact the story does not really have a conclusion. It feels like the first part of a serial, although it is actually not. It reminded me of the truncated short dramas I was shown at school in English classes that were intended to make the pupils use their imaginations and devise the remainder. The film also brought back my assessment of Blackout, except it is not as bleak and visceral, see: I suspect the setting is near-future, although it looks strictly contemporary. This is because in the film, ships, aircraft and autonomous cars have no human override. At the moment this is not the case, however there are plans to make it so in the works. Leave the World Behind addresses an important point, that ordered society is fragile and can collapse very easily into barbarism almost instantaneously after the loss of some infrastructure. This is not an original concept in fiction; however, in this case, it is obvious that the infrastructure is not collapsing because of some accident or foreign adversarial ambush; it is being done on purpose by a faction of the political class. What happens next is impossible to answer because there is no next; the story ends there. Despite this, viewers can imagine that the catastrophe is intended to demolish the existing world order and rebuild it in a new form. Leave the World Behind is on Netflix, but has also popped up in a few "other places".
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