Leaving the world behind portrays the fears of the 21st

“Leaving the world behind” portrays the fears of the 21st century

The people who keep guns, cans of food, and cans of water and gasoline in their homes are called standby men, in case the system collapses, a civil war breaks out, or, for whatever reason, everything goes to hell. They are more common in the United States (they are preppers or survivalists), but in this new century paranoia is spreading because one black swan after another has visited us. A black swan is an unexpected and extremely impactful event: 9/11, the Great Recession, the Covid pandemic or the invasion of Ukraine fall into this category; Violence in the Middle East is less new but just as disturbing. Add to this the digital revolution, the climate crisis, polarization and the fragility of the most established democracies: fear is needed. While previous generations feared totalitarianism, a nuclear holocaust, or an alien invasion, the recurring nightmare now is that the Internet will collapse before there is an energy collapse or water shortage, to name just two other important examples.

Fiction series have addressed this danger of an abrupt demise that would plunge society into chaos: the North American Mr. Robot, the French The Collapse, the Spanish Blackout. The shocking thing is that Barack and Michelle Obama's production company is joining this trend: their latest film is called “Leave the World Behind” and was released on Netflix, a platform that has a habit of betting on an apocalyptic film this Christmas ( That was the case last year). No looking up). We follow a family on their trip to a luxurious country house, where they receive some mysterious visitors; Everyone will be surprised by the decline in communication. These already uncomfortable characters, led by Julia Roberts, will search for explanations and solutions to a seeming breakdown of the social order.

Directed by Sam Esmail, the very creator of Mr. Robot, it has the same flaws as the series that worked in the first season and became too convoluted in the following ones. There is tension here and there are very shocking scenes; The mystery of what is happening is solved fragmentarily and never completely; The script is full of traps. In the end, some will wonder if there will be a second chapter; This could pass as a pilot episode.

The film contains a sarcastic look at these crazy conspiracy believers preparing for the worst (the character of this entrenched neighbor would have given more of himself), although in this context one could say that they were right. Above all, it is a timely warning about our dependence on technology in an unstable world where we are vulnerable to sabotage from what they call hybrid warfare.

A general outage of Orange in Spain for a few hours on Wednesday, due to a hack, reminded us of our vulnerability. While these may be the concerns of the first world, in other parts of the world their greatest fear is that a bomb might fall on their house. There are new fears, but the old ones are still there.

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