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Netflix’s Apocalyptic Thriller “Leave The World Behind” Sparks Heated Debate Over Its Controversial Ending

Netflix’s latest apocalyptic thriller, “Leave The World Behind,” has ignited a heated debate among viewers regarding its divisive cliffhanger ending. Starring A-list actors Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, and Mahershala Ali, alongside rising star Myha’la Herrol, the film follows two families grappling for survival amid a global catastrophe.

Initially, the storyline revolves around what appears to be a series of mass cyberattacks across the U.S., only to unveil a more sinister turn of events. As the island’s deer exhibit peculiar behavior, surrounding the holiday home and fixating on its inhabitants, the suspense escalates. Based on Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel of the same name, the film is directed by Sam Esmail and produced by Higher Ground, the production company founded by Barack and Michelle Obama.

Despite garnering praise for its performances, cinematography, and overall tone, the film has stirred controversy due to its unexpected and unconventional ending. A 2-hour-and-20-minute feature, “Leave The World Behind” currently boasts a ‘certified fresh’ Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score of 74%, with an audience rating of 83%.

Following its release on Netflix, viewers took to social media to express their opinions. While some lauded the film for its thought-provoking conclusion, others criticized it as “random” and “awful,” claiming it lacked a satisfying payoff.

One disgruntled viewer tweeted, “Whoever decided to end Leave the World behind like that? I just want to talk to them alone for a minute… @netflix sort it out.” Another complained, “Leave The World Behind just messed with my head, why would they end with the biggest cliffhanger.”

The dissatisfaction was echoed by several others, with comments such as, “There’s two hours I will never get back. Horrible ending. Unlikeable characters. Netflix trash.” and “Leave the World Behind is a strange one. Enjoyed the acting, it’s shot well, looks great. Until it gets to the end, where it has built up to literal nothingness, no pay off at all really.”

Despite the criticisms, a faction of viewers defended the ending, suggesting that those who disliked it had missed the underlying message. They emphasized that the conclusion was intentional, offering a deeper meaning that required closer examination.

One supporter praised, “Leave the World Behind is overall a pretty good movie. The end, is no joke, top five endings of all time. That was a brilliant bit of filmmaking.” Another echoed, “LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND has one of the best endings of any movie from this year.”

Amid the divisive reactions, Rumaan Alam, the author of the source material, found satisfaction in the film’s conclusion. He described it as a humorous and self-reflective assertion about the power of the medium and its impact on the characters.

In an interview with Variety, Alam shared, “It’s a reminder that art is kind of a salve. The theatrical experience of watching this movie is so powerful because I’ve had the chance to see audiences respond to the ending three times now, and nobody really knows what to make of it. They’re like, is this funny? Is this scary? Is it really over? And I love that so much.”

As “Leave The World Behind” continues to stir debate, it underscores the subjective nature of film interpretation and the enduring impact of unconventional storytelling.

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