The Big Picture
- Sam Esmail’s Leave the World Behind focuses on human nature and survival in an end-of-the-world scenario, with Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, and Mahershala Ali in lead roles.
- Vanity Fair released thrilling and gloomy new images from the psychological thriller, highlighting intense moments from the film.
- Unlike other disaster films, Esmail prioritizes character study over spectacle, with the focus on the characters’ reactions and development while the disaster remains in the distance.
Sam Esmail’s latest feature Leave the World Behind will examine human nature and the extent that it can go to survive. Set in an end-of-the-world scenario, the movie adapted from the 2020 novel by Rumaan Alam, focuses on its lead characters played by Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, and Mahershala Ali. As the release date nears the makers are peeling back the layers of this drama with new images.
Vanity Fair put out new images from the psychological thriller, and they are thrilling and gloomy at the same time. In one image we see Roberts screaming her heart out in the forest. Another interesting image sees Roberts and Hawke, who plays a couple renting a cabin in the woods standing on the door, and across them are Ali and his young daughter played by Myha’la Herrold, who owns the place and seek shelter while the uncertainties plunge the world into darkness. Perhaps the most interesting image is the one with a mysterious shipping tanker in the ocean, which is the first indication that something is wrong, in another image from the beach Ali stands on the beach amid the wreckage of fallen planes on the shoreline.
Expect the Unexpected From ‘Leave the World Behind’
While most world-ending disaster films focus on the event itself, Esmail wanted to look the other way and do a character study. The director loves the disaster genre and notes that in most disaster films “the focus—the priority of the storytelling—is on the set pieces,” Esmail says. Adding, “It’s on the spectacle of whatever the disaster might be for that story, and the characters were secondary to that. They’re more there to react and become the audience avatar.” But to differentiate his upcoming feature, he kept the focus on the characters revealing, “The spectacle of the disaster is secondary and off in the distance.”
He further promises, “You don’t know the culmination, you don’t know where this goes. Even as the film ends, we’re left wondering, where are we going to go from here?” Leave the World Behind seems like a compelling feature with its thrilling setup and character-driven story. The movie features Roberts as Amanda, Ali as George “G.H.” Washington, Hawke as Clay, Herrold as Ruth, Farrah Mackenzie as Rosie, Charlie Evans as Archie, and Kevin Bacon as Danny.
Leave the World Behind bows in theatres on October 25. Check out the new images on Vanity Fair.