Leave The World Behind
Film & Television

Leave The World Behind

An academic review of the 2023 film, Leave the World Behind, directed by Sam Essig

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In this post, I survey and discuss the 2023 film, Leave the World Behind, directed by Sam Essig. This is an academic literature review that provides a chronological overview of the discussion presented with a brief interpretation of the themes and/or arguments. I may or may not agree with the content I am reviewing here and the critical lens of my summations and annotations reflect the research I was doing at the time.



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G.H. Scott: I didn’t think we’d actually let something like this happen. I thought we were smarter than that.

Amanda Sandford: Let what happen?

G.H. Scott: Because my primary client works in the defense sector, I spend 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 communication 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 weapon 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.

Amanda: What’s the third stage?

G.H.: Coup d’état. 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.

Essig, 2023, 2:05:15


Essig, S. (Director). (2023). Leave the World Behind [Film]. Esmail Corp, Red Om Films & Higher Ground Productions.