2 out of 5 stars (has some good moments, but is overall bad)
This review originally appeared on the The Illuminerdi June 23, 2021.
This World Alone is one of those frustrating movies where clearly talented actors and a solid director are let down by a poor script. Newcomers Belle Adams and Lau’rie Roach show impressive emotional rawness and director Jordan Noel has an eye for pretty nature shots and injects the final 3rd with unexpected tension, but the script they’ve been given feels meandering and largely lacks the urgency its story should have.
20 years ago, an event called The Fall occurred leaving Earth without power or technology. Tough-as-nails mother Connie (Carrie Walrond Hood) and her booksmart daughter Sam (Belle Adams) have been living with family friend Willow (Sophie Edwards) for some time, and teen Sam desires to explore the world despite its dangers. She gets that chance when Willow is severely injured and the only known medicine is located in New Macedonia a few days walk away. With time of the essence, Sam ventures out to retrieve the medicine, experiencing the harsh world around her and crossing paths with Dart (Lau’rie Roach) along the way.
The biggest problem with This World Away is its surprising lack of urgency. The beginning is interesting enough and shows some solid character dynamics, but once Willow gets injured and Sam sets off, the film meanders following the latter walk through nicely-shot nature until she meets up with Dart and a sort of romance (?) develops between them. We get a few flashbacks to Sam, Connie, and Willow reading classic literature and the film intermittently cuts to black for Sam to give ponderous narration about how the world used to be, but the present world lacks any threats for our heroes to overcome. Then an unexpectedly violent and emotional 3rd act ends the movie on a high note, but it can’t compensate for everything beforehand. Everyone here is clearly talented, and they all deserved a better launching pad. This World Alone is carried by two star-making performances and good direction, but its meandering script squanders those attributes.