As the first week of December closes and we march towards the Christmas holiday break, there's another new Netflix number one movie that's risen to the top of the best streaming service's ranks – and it's decidedly the antithesis of a Christmas movie if I ever saw one (if you fancy something lighter then look to our 5 Heart-Warming Movies guide instead).
Leave The World Behind is a Netflix Original movie, written for screen and directed by Mr Robot's acclaimed creator, Sam Esmail, and features major stars Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali. But despite such big names at the helm, this apocalyptic thriller has netted a mere 40% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It's divided critics, too, with a 75% score on the same site.
I watched the new movie last night – in glorious 4K HDR, which looked spectacular – and, I must say, I'm totally at odds with how the score is so very low. There's almost never-ending suspense, the cinematography is sensational throughout (just look at the gallery below), and even the younger cast members deliver absolutely on-point performances that will hold your eyes to the screen, always wondering what's about the next turn.
Sure, Leave The World Behind leaves lots of unanswered questions, too, and I have no doubt that where the film ultimately goes, the lingering uncertainty, and how it ends – no spoilers here! – will irk a large swathe of viewers. But I find the atypical sequences refreshing in a world of otherwise cookie-cutter action movies. Just check out the trailer above and, as you can see from the major set pieces, there's plenty of action to compliment the suspense.
Sometimes it's those movies that divide crowds the most that will gain a more cult-like following. But as Leave The World Behind is based on a book of the same name – a 2020 novel by Rumaan Alam, which I confess I've not read (yet) – it may be Esmail's interpretation that sits at odds with fans of the original fiction.
The big directors are increasingly moving over to the streaming services rather than traditional movie studios, with the likes of Martin Scorsese developing a relationship with Apple TV+, for example. I think we'll be seeing plenty more examples of this in the coming years, whether on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+ or elsewhere. That could make for more interesting viewing overall compared to Netflix's litany of cancelled series, eh?
So if you're feeling a bit Scrooge-like this Christmas and fancy delving deep into an apocalyptic thriller that'll visually delight, I fully recommend giving Leave The World Behind a chance. It deserves much more than its 40% Rotten Tomatoes audience score in my view – but that's the beauty of movies and their subjectivity; not one thing can appeal to everyone after all – otherwise, heck, I've rounded up five of the best worst-rated Christmas movies of all time instead...