“Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail unleashed his new film “Leave the World Behind” on Netflix a month ago and the movie is still drawing much debate and reaction online.
The film begins when a family vacation on Long Island is interrupted by two strangers – a father and daughter – with news of a blackout and seeking refuge. As the threat grows more imminent, both families must decide how best to survive the potential crisis.
Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, Kevin Bacon, Myha’la Herrold, Farrah Mackenzie and Charlie Evans co-star in the film with reviews overall positive at 75% (6.8/10) on Rotten Tomatoes. However, there has been a divisive nature to the reviews, one which may helped it to top Netflix’s film charts for the week of December 4th-10th.
Recently Esmail spoke about the film with Collider and went into spoiler territory, speaking about that divisive ending and overall message and theme of the film.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Esmail says the release via Netflix helped them achieve the goal of the film which was to stir conversation:
“The reach was amazing. The one thing that I think us, as producers, and Julia and the entire team, what we wanted this movie to do is spark conversation and that’s exactly what happened.”
He confirms the ending of the film, with the playing of the final episode of “Friends” and that sitcom’s theme song, was set early in the process:
“I just knew that that was the perfect way to end the film, and I pitched it that way to the studios before we even sold it. So, that was the ending from the very early days of me envisioning what this film could look like.
And just to say, obviously the discourse around the ending has been, I’d say, pretty polarizing. A lot of people despise it, and a lot of people also get it. It’s been heartening to see think pieces about why that ending does work.”
Esmail wouldn’t discuss the film’s various deer scenes beyond it being representative of a feeling:
“It’s not meant for it to be like an essay where every plot point is annotated with logic and references. It’s meant to be kind of a hallucination that you subscribe to, and the deer are just kind of an extension of that. It’s meant to add a tone. They’re representing the ominous warning from nature to us that something’s off and we’re not listening.”
He also says he deliberately didn’t want any easy explanations as that would take people out of the film, rather you’re caught in the bubble with these people:
“What I didn’t want was a cutaway to the city to show what’s going on there. I definitely didn’t want a general landing in the fields of Long Island and giving us some expository explanation about who’s behind this or what’s going on. That felt like an entirely different version of the film. That would have betrayed everything that came before.
Also, I don’t understand why everyone needs everything explained to them to the lowest thing. Life is not going to get explained to you. You only get the information. We’re on the same page.”
For the full interview, head on over to Collider. “Leave the World Behind” is currently available via Netflix.