Don’t Look Up is a combination of science fiction and satirical comedy written by Adam McKay, a filmmaker who has so far presented us with two works – The Big Short, which dealt with the causes of the global economic crisis in 2008 and Vice, which focused on former US Vice President Dick Cheney. Behind this project is Netflix, which did not regret millions, first to buy the rights from Paramount, and then to gather a really impressive ensemble of actors. After the cinema distribution, the film arrived on the streaming service on December 24.
Don’t Look Up movie review, plot
At the beginning of the film, Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), an astronomy student and her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), discover a comet whose orbit is on Earth in just over six months. A collision would lead to the permanent destruction of the vast majority of the living world on earth, and the problem lies in the fact that no one really cares about that. After the disinterest of the President of the United States (Meryl Streep), who is much more important in resolving her own scandals and the upcoming political campaign, the two of them are trying to warn humanity through the media, encountering mixed reactions.
The covid pandemic is responsible for the fact that in the last two years, humanity has gained a different, much more serious type of perspective on human nature and the efficiency of socio-political solutions. As expected, there are few things that represent something good from that perspective, and that was the inspiration for Mackay, who asked a simple question – what would be the answer of modern society to the impending potential destruction of the planet. The film is a satire on the indifference of the authorities and the media towards the existential threat, as well as a satirical presentation of the way people and systems react to the crisis.
The basis of this film is a comedy that mocks our weaknesses with the visual solutions characteristic of Mackay who likes to use a hand-held camera and leave the impression of a documentary style of filming. The basis of the comedy lies in the fact that no one understands or cares about the imminent extinction of all living things on the planet, and Mackay uses the opportunity to take the absurdity of a potential reaction to this imaginary crisis to extremes – recent history that is, unfortunately, a fine line between satire and sad reality, especially considering that the comet is a metaphor for climate change.
The President of the United States either does not understand the seriousness of the situation or sincerely believes that the problem can wait until the end of the upcoming elections. The business world aims at stock market stability and sees in the comet a potential chance to obtain rare and expensive materials. That business world is represented by technology mogul Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance), a heartless dictator who decides that the comet is an untapped resource for economic growth. As for the media, they observe everything through the numbers of interactions on social networks and insist that everything must be good news, and they are represented by a couple of unbearably smiling hosts of the morning program.
Quality works in this genre have characters who do not hide their flaws, but are to some extent sympathetic or at least aware of their flaws. The biggest (perhaps the only) problem with this film lies in the fact that most of the characters are complete, incompetent idiots. Therefore, on the one hand, Don’t Look Up in terms of cheap entertainment and trivialization can be placed in the same rank with Idiocracy from 2006, which I believe was definitely not the goal of Adam McKay. Yet, on the other hand, most of what was absurd or bizarre a few years ago in this modern age is the new normal, including the fact that our lives are run by complete, incompetent idiots.
Don’t Look Up is a combination of comedy and science fiction that has relatively successfully overcome the challenge of satirizing something that has already become so absurd that it defies all common sense. Final rating: 8/10
Don’t Look Up movie cast and characters
- Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy
- Jennifer Lawrence as Dr Kate Dibiasky
- Rob Morgan as Dr. Clayton “Teddy” Oglethorpe
- Jonah Hill as Jason Orlean
- Mark Rylance as Peter Isherwell
- Tyler Perry as Jack Bremmer
- Timothée Chalamet as Yule
- Ron Perlman as Colonel Ben Drask
- Ariana Grande as Riley Bina, a pop star
- Scott Mescudi aka Kid Cudi as DJ Chello
- Cate Blanchett as Brie Evantee
- Meryl Streep as President Janie Orlean
- Himesh Patel as Phillip
- Melanie Lynskey as June Mindy
- Chris Evans as Devin Peters
- Tomer Sisley as Adul Grelio
- Melanie Lynskey as June Mindy
- Robert Joy as Congressman Tenant
- Michael Chiklis as Dan Pawketty
- Paul Guilfoyle as General Themes
- Ting as Win
- Ishaan Khatter as Raghav Manavalan