An all-star cast allows filmmaker Macon Blair to give his comedic thriller I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore the legs needed for an award-winning credit. The Sundance Film Festival 2017 presented Blair with the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.
The title of the film shares the name with an old southern gospel song. Blair's friend and fellow filmmaker, Jeremy Saulnier, gifted him a compilation of old country songs that included "I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore." The tunes were new to Blair though they were written decades ago. Blair couldn't get the words out of his head to this one song, "I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore". The words to the song, the title and its message (though it is a mouthful to say and remember) fit perfectly to Blair's script. Blair explains, "Drop a person who's on the edge of losing it into a half-ass crime story and see happens. It just clicked."
The idea for Blair's screenplay and directorial debut stems from the time his apartment was burglarized. Personal items were stolen which included his revered laptop. Blair's experience dealing with unsympathetic policemen to his situation was not like the TV cop-movies. Blair quickly learned that the probability to catch the thieves were low. Nor were the local authorities putting his situation as a priority. Little hope was given for finding the criminals. Blair's disappointment led to the fact his world wasn't going to be protected. As a victim, the emotional roller-coaster that surfaced within surprised him. Blair wondered if he should take matters into his own hands for his own safety and true justice.
Ruth (Melanie Lynskey), a working-class nurse is close to a nervous break-down. A bad day at work listening to foul-mouthed patients creates an irritation with the world around her. She arrives home to mysterious piles of dog dung that keep appearing on her lawn in spite of her request to dog owners that this is not welcomed. After cleaning up her yard, she enters her house and realizes she has been burglarized. Her computer and some family heirlooms have been taken. She's irate! The policemen are called but do nothing. Ruth is ready to take matters into her own hands after the cops blow off the situation as it is her fault. Ruth goes to all the neighbors and shares her story. She asks if anyone saw anything unusual.
Martial arts want-to-be and neighbor, Tony (Elijah Wood) feels for Ruth. He decides to join her to search her belongings. Ruth doesn't know what kind of world she lives in anymore and drags Tony along to figure it out. She is certainly not comfortable with people abusing others for personal gain. She lives by another moral code. Ruth wants to make the criminals pay for their wrong-doings. Searching for the culprits is the adventure Tony and Ruth find exhilarating. Taking matters into their own hands is the way to control a redemptive outcome in their favor. Yikes! (Karen Pecota)