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Author of How to Prep When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
The internet is abuzz with a new movie in the end-of-the-world genre. Netflix’s Leave the World Behind came out last week, and it has everyone talking. The movie is based on a book of the same name by Rumaan Alam, which has pretty mixed reviews. (I’m going to read it, though – I feel like I have to now.)
There are some interesting points of discussion, especially when you consider that the Obamas – yep, those Obamas – were executive producers of the flick.
Wait…President Obama was part of this? Are there secret messages?
Being a producer wasn’t the only involvement – the former president was also involved creatively. Director Sam Esmail explained to Collude.com:
“Because President Obama is such a movie lover, he really focused his notes on trying to cinematically portray what was in the book in a really interesting way. The book was on his reading list, it’s one of his favorites, and he really wanted to do justice by the book and this theme about mistrust and this being a cautionary tale about what could happen if we don’t have that community or bond that holds us together,” the director explained. “So he really gave notes with regards to character, empathy, and also the disaster elements. It was really across the board. And again, it was all in pursuit of making it into a good movie. That was his main focus.”
According to Esmail, there are no conspiracies here except the ones that already existed in the plot of the movie.
“I think the silly thing about the whole thing is President Obama really came on a couple of months before we started shooting, so the script had basically been written and done. He obviously gave notes on the script, but the bones of the story and the sequences were already written. I would just say they’re pretty wrong in terms of his signaling. It had nothing to do with that.”
Hmmm…it does make one wonder, though. How could it not? We’ve been subjected to predictive programming for years, and here we are, feeling like we’re right on the verge of the end of the world, and then we’re supposed to put away our tinfoil? The former president, who would know EVERYTHING about shady cabals and disaster protocols and how the American public could be manipulated, is just into cool fiction?
Whether secret messages are encoded into the script or not, (and also whether there were loose ends or not) I enjoyed the movie. So let’s talk about that.
What is Leave the World Behind about?
A couple, Clay and Amanda, decide to bop over to Long Island for a weekend getaway at the last minute. They rent a stunning home in a beach town with fabulous amenities, pack up their two kids, Archie and Rose, and head there in a car ride that made me want to smack the kids.
Weirdness ensues almost right away. Amanda runs to the store and sees a guy stocking up on canned goods and bottled water. And I mean stocking up. Prepper-style quantities, filling the back of his pick-up truck. Bizarre things happen with animals. A trip to the beach is marred by a strange oil tanker incident.
Then, late that night a man and his daughter show up at the door. The two are formally dressed – they’ve just left the symphony in a hurry. The father, GH, politely explains that this is his house that they’ve rented and that he and his daughter, Ruth, need to stay the night. Clay seems unwilling to say no. Amanda is far more suspicious about the strange arrivals with the flimsy excuse late at night.
Eventually, though Amanda is under visible duress, GH and Ruth take the basement bedroom while Clay and Amanda stay upstairs with the kids.
Things get even weirder, with devastating soundwave weapons, odd animal behavior, GPS no longer working, reports of power and communications outages back in the city, and much more. I don’t want to spoil it by telling you all of what happens, but suffice it to say, things are going sideways fast.
From a prepper perspective…
There are hints of prepper things and conspiracies throughout the movie but this stuff wasn’t very satisfying. The only real prepper we meet is Danny, the guy Amanda saw at the grocery store on the first day. Danny could be any of us – he isn’t interested in helping city folks, he isn’t sharing what he’s stored, and he’s totally suspicious about the actions of the US government. He’s made out, of course, to be selfish and perhaps a bit crazy, even though he finally, grudgingly, agrees to assist with some medication that they paid an obscene amount of money for. (And yes, he’s convinced that the thousand bucks probably isn’t going to be worth anything, but I think he just wanted to get rid of them.)
There are a lot of things that are unclear or picked up and then dropped. Why are the animals acting so weird? What kind of weird bug bit the kid? Why are there floods without any storms? What is the Hispanic lady yelling about in Spanish? (You can find the translation here.)
And there are other weird things, too. What does GH actually do for a living? Why did Clay and Amanda just let them in? (I’ve lived in Airbnbs for two years of my life, and I’m telling you right now. No. Way.) What made the Teslas go bonkers? Why is the little girl so creepy and why doesn’t she listen to anyone? (Grounded. So so grounded.) Why is the boy the only one who suffers a mysterious health issue that seems to be related to the general atmosphere of weirdness but is never explained?
There were so many loose threads that were tugged out and brought out into the open, then never tied up, leaving the plot to unravel into confusion and uncertainty. Is it artsy? Is it bad filmmaking? I can’t tell you that.
Okay, below, there be spoilers. Do not proceed if you don’t want to see them. Do not read the comments if you don’t want to see spoilers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Okay, there. We’ve got some room now.
I enjoyed the movie in the way I always do – by cheering on the good decisions and screaming at the TV for the bad ones. This was a preparedness nightmare in so many ways and you couldn’t tell if the events were supernatural or if they were the workings of some secret shadowy government agency.
The way they played the racism card was interesting. I talked to friends who mostly agreed there was no actual racism but that Ruth, the daughter who was either late teens or early 20s, saw racism everywhere. She also saw ill intent from Clay when there really wasn’t any sexual tension except for the stuff she brought up. In fact, he seemed very uncomfortable. That character wasn’t very likable but she was extremely well-written as far as realism is concerned.
The propaganda aspect was fascinating and reminded me of the Psy-Ops class I took at prepper camp. Make the attacks confusing and blame other people. Nobody knew where the attacks were coming from. Was it jihadis, as the Arabic flyers dropped from a plain would indicate? Was it the North Koreans, as flyers dropped in another part of the country suggested? Was it the US government, as conspiracy theorists all think? A creepy globalist cabal? The engineered confusion made everything harder on everyone and it goes back to something I’ve written about many times. It doesn’t matter who is behind the chaos in the moment. All that matters is surviving.
The soundwave thing made me think of Havana syndrome but that didn’t make anybody’s teeth fall out that I’ve been able to find. I still have no idea why Archie’s teeth fell out of his face and nobody else’s did. And why did the people with that big, well-stocked, lovely bunker just leave it unlocked and easy to access? Where’s the hidden door behind the bookcase? Why on earth would that be unprotected? And where are the people who should’ve been hunkering down in it?
Then there were these things that GH said.
There were two quotes that had me really wondering about things, and I wish I knew if they were in the book as well as the movie. First, early on, GH talks to Amanda about his main client, who is a bigwig in the defense industry.
GH: A conspiracy theory about a shadowy group of people running the world is far too lazy of an explanation. Especially when the truth is much scarier.
Amanda: What is the truth?
GH: No one is in control. No one is pulling the strings.
Sure, there are those like my friend who might have the right kind of access to the right kind of information. But when events like this happen in the world, the best, even the most powerful people can hope for is a heads up.
Wait…Is this a message from President Obama? And does it mean that legit, the “evil cabal” didn’t cause this, but the members are just trying to survive it like the rest of us? Or is it a classic case of misdirection? Or was it in the book? Is it just a line in a movie? I can’t decide.
The other thing that got my wheels turning was when GH outlined the “plan” to destabilize the country to Clay when they were sitting in the car after successfully getting some kind of mysterious medicine for now-toothless Archie from Danny, the prepper.
GH: You would have called me crazy because it is crazy. It would make more sense if we were on the edge of an all-out invasion… But this… I didn’t think we’d actually let something like this happen. I thought we were smarter than that.
Because my primary client works in the defense sector, I spent a lot of time studying the cost-benefit analysis of military campaigns. There was one program in particular that terrified my client the most.
A simple three-stage maneuver that could topple a country’s government from within.
The first stage is isolation. Disable their communications and transportation. Make the target as deaf, dumb, and paralyzed as possible, setting them up for the second stage.
Synchronized chaos. Terrorize them with covert attacks and misinformation, overwhelming their defense capabilities leaving their weapons systems vulnerable to extremists and their own military. Without a clear enemy or motive, people would start turning on each other.
If done successfully, the third stage would happen on its own.
Clay: What’s the third stage?
GH: Coup d’etat. Civil war. Collapse.
This program was considered the most cost-effective way to destabilize a country. Because if the target nation was dysfunctional enough, it would, in essence, do the work for you.
Whoever started this wants us to finish it.
Seriously – how farfetched is it? I don’t think it’s a stretch at all. Of course, this sort of belies the first quote about how there’s no evil cabal in charge of this. Because this had to be engineered by somebody. They’ve studied it, for crying out loud.
Finally, a lot of folks were very unhappy with the ending that didn’t seem like an ending at all. Personally, I thought it was perfect. Because in a situation of overwhelming chaos, are there ever clear-cut answers? Is there ever an ending that wraps things up neatly? I thought the uncertainty was probably the most realistic part of all.
What do you think?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this movie. Have you watched it? Do you intend to watch it? Were there some things about it you wanted to discuss? Do you have any answers to the copious unanswered questions I brought up in the review?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.