I Don’t… begins by introducing us to Ruth, played by Melanie Lynskey. Ruth is someone that feels like she’s being trampled by the world. The meanness, the selfishness of the world, the way people can watch, uncaring and unblinking, as others suffer, depresses Ruth terribly. She is tired of every big and little thing people do that hurt each other: people being racist, not caring for the environment, not cleaning up after themselves, and spoiling the ending of books. And after her apartment is broken into, Ruth has had enough. She decides that she is going to confront the person who stole from her, and demand that they apologize. Ruth teams up with her odd-ball neighbor Tony, played by Elijah Wood, who is obsessed with martial arts, nunchucks, throwing stars, and Jesus. As the two begin to track down Ruth’s stolen property, they begin to form a friendship through a light-hearted adventure. But as things continue, their journey takes them into a violent and dangerous plot, which they were desperately unprepared for.
Released in 2017, I Don’t… was written and directed by Macon Blair, and was Blair’s directorial debut. For his directorial debut, I Don’t… is a really solid film. I think that in looking back on Blair’s career, we can see where some of the inspiration for I Don’t… came from. In 2015, Blair produced and acted in Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room. Green Room has many of the same tonal and stylistic choices as I Don’t… , specifically in how it involves a few normal characters being thrust into a violent and terrifying situation. It’s clear that some of the inspiration for this movie comes from Green Room.
Unfortunately, I do think that Green Room ultimately proves to be the better movie. While I Don’t… is still a solid film, it is lacking in a few areas. Most significantly, I think, is the cinematography of the film. The cinematography of I Don’t… isn’t bad by any means, but it’s not really anything special either. Some scenes have some nice looking lighting, but the climax of the film is largely flat, uninteresting lighting with lots of greys and browns. It’s not ugly to look at, but it’s not very beautiful either. Thankfully, the action on screen makes up for whatever might be boring you otherwise.
If you like I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, you may enjoy Good Time, Fargo, Green Room, Nightcrawler, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, or No Country For Old Men.
You can check out our review of Green Room here: http://www.cinemablography.org/blog/green-room-review