KSL Movie Show review: ‘Leave the World Behind’ is a fun ride but falls short

Dec 9, 2023, 9:00 AM | Updated: Dec 22, 2023, 11:32 am

steve salles next to poster for leave the world behind, which is his newest review...

Steve Salles, co-host of the KSL Movie Show, says all the actors in "Leave the World Behind" perform wonderfully, including the kids.

SALT LAKE CITY — I like a movie that is not only full of mystery but forces one to peel back the onion of a plot at the same pace as the story’s characters – making it, hopefully, an intense shared experience.

That works most of the time in “Leave the World Behind.” Minus a few glaring missteps.

Amanda Sandford (Julia Roberts) wakes her husband Clay (Ethan Hawke) as she’s vigorously packing a suitcase. My first thought is “Uh oh, trouble in paradise?”

But much to my surprise and from the look on Clay’s face as well, we are both taken aback when she suggests they take a well-deserved break and get out of the city — as in New York — for the weekend. She’s found a lovely wooded area with a great house to rent.

And just like that off they go with their teenage son Archie (Charlie Evans) and younger daughter Rose (Farrah Mackenzie).

And wow, what a spectacular place with lots of space, privacy and a pool. All is well with the Sandfords – as they settle in for the night. 

However, a knock at the door awakens Clay and Amanda in the late hours.

It’s G. H. Scott (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter Ruth (Myha’la) claiming to be the owners of the house dealing with an unexpected blackout in the city. They hate to impose but are hoping to stay the night in an out-of-the-way downstairs room and are willing to refund half of the Sandford’s rental fee.

Easy-going Clay says sure, why not. Distrusting Amanda doesn’t buy their story, but after some coaxing and the opening of the locked liquor cabinet, everybody’s laughing and relaxed, despite Amanda’s continuing concerns.

Mysteries abound

That’s about as far as I’m willing to go as events begin to unfold that don’t make much sense, including widespread outages of power, internet and phone services. Even the TV has gone from an undetermined emergency broadcast message to finally just off-air snowy static.

A lot of strange things are happening – some of them tied to a possible explanation, while others in retrospect have nothing to do with what we eventually see and learn.

The actors are certainly in it to win it, as all of their efforts, even the kids, perform wonderfully.

It’s just that third act, where everything is supposed to come together and provide some answers, where I believe the film falls short.

“Leave the World Behind” is still a fun ride, but I was hoping for something a little more concrete and a lot less up in the air.

LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND (B-) Rated R for language, some sexual content, drug use and brief bloody images. Starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha’la and Kevin Bacon. Co-written and directed by Sam Ismail (“Homecoming” “Mr. Robot” both TV series) -filmed in Long Island, New York. Showing on Netflix only. 138 minutes.

Steve Salles is the co-host of the KSL Movie Show. Follow the show on Facebook. Join the KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500. 

Related reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Arts + Entertainment

taylor swift performing eras tour concert, a new class at weber state focuses on swift...


Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

The Weber State University Taylor Swift class was offered for the first time this spring and filled up quickly.

2 days ago

Salt Lake City’s downtown skyline on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Jazz owner Ryan Smith continues to d...

Mariah Maynes

Utah Jazz owner hypes potential “sports-centered” downtown Salt Lake

Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz, is hyping up the possibility of bringing more professional sports teams to Utah. 

2 days ago

Image of TV remote featuring Netflix button. Netflix may direct customers to stop paying for their ...

Samantha Delouya, CNN

You may lose access to your Netflix account if you’re paying through Apple

The update by Netflix comes after years of pushback from apps in Apples iOS App Store for taking a 30% cut of all in-app purchases.

2 days ago

Kenneth Mitchell, here in 2018, has died....

Megan Thomas, CNN

Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Marvel’ actor, dead at 49

A native of Canada, Mitchell acquired more than 50 film and television credits over the course of his acting career. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2019.

4 days ago

kevin and michael bacon performing, they'll stop in utah in June...

Sam Herrera

Kevin Bacon to stop in Utah this summer with Bacon Brothers band

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael will stop by Utah this June to take part in Lehi's Round-Up concert as the Bacon Brothers band.

6 days ago

KSL Movie Show Review of "Perfect Days." This is one of those “art house films” that mainstream...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘Perfect Days’ is an exceptional effort

"Perfect Days" is one of those “art house films” that mainstream audiences can’t understand why anyone would want to sit through -- I’ll try to explain why in this review. 

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Leave the World Behind’ is a fun ride but falls short