Watch Don’t Look Up on Netflix
Written by: Adam McKay (screenplay by), Adam McKay & David Sirota (story by)
Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, Himesh Patel, Melanie Lynskey, Michael CHiklis, Paul Guilfoyle
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Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.
What would happen if the world was close to ending? Not much as people are too concerned about themselves. Taking a queue from contemporary politics, many people just ignore the truth and “don’t look up.” This is a satire the takes aim at politics as much as it does everyone else. When everyone has a voice, even those with authority in a field are drowned out. People want to hear themselves first, and their own opinions echoed second. While this can be silly, it also explores depressing realities. That just happens to be dressed up in a joke.
Adam McKay merged comedy and information in The Big Short, then followed it up with Vice. These movies had a distinct style that cut away from the action to explain concepts and provide information. These movies were dark comedy, a sardonic take on the world in which we live.
|Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio play Katie Dibiasky and Randall Mindy|
A comet undoubtedly will hit Earth and cause an extinction level event, and that’s just the opening scene. Astronomers Randall (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) are panicked, but the rest of the world carries on happy to ignore it because they don’t like that information.
The premise for this movie loosely is that the world is full of idiots. President Orlean (Meryl Streep) doesn’t care about the news as it doesn’t provide her an immediate benefit. The President’s report is that “you can’t tell people there’s a 100% chance they’re going to die,” bump it down to 70%.
There’s a background joke about the President’s Supreme Court nominee. He has no background in law and scandals keep getting reported throughout the movie as the President pushes the nominee.
Randall and Kate leak the impending doom to the press in hopes of saving the world by gaining attention. They’re booked on a talk show where they aren’t even first or second in the lineup. Entertainment is more important than extinction. The astronomers are the only smart people in a sea of idiots. The population is more interested in entertainment, even to a detriment. No one wants to accept bad news, but this movie isn’t exploring the willful denial of life threatening news.
|Mark Rylance, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill play Peter Isherwell, President Orlean, Jason Orelan|
The President acts, but only because it’s now advantageous. The plans is to blow up the comet, and while it could be done remotely, the people “need a hero.” The commander is constantly described as from a different era to excuse his frequent offenses.
A sub-plot involves the entertainment industry bringing Randall down as he temporarily becomes more interested in pleasure than the message. He likes the attention. Katie becomes nothing more than a meme.
A big part of what propels this movie is sheer ridiculousness. Cellular company CEO Peter (Mark Rylance) easily convinces the President to abort the mission so that his company can mine the minerals on the comet to provide jobs and money to the world. It’s completely phony and we know it. He’s a rich guy with big promises and people follow him blindly.
|Leonardo DiCaprio plays Randall Mindy|
There’s nothing subtle about this movie, and it begins to hit the same notes after we’re half way in. The President starts a “Don’t Look Up” movement, urging people to ignore the comet and support her plan to mine the minerals. The usual rhetoric follows with lies and subterfuge creating outrage and divisiveness. I was ready for this to get to the end long before it actually concluded. This movie really stretches the ending for no real purpose.
The ending is exactly what I wanted. When you say the world will end, you have to follow through. This movie comments on current society. While the social media parts are silly, it’s the power a rich CEO has over the country that’s concerning. It’s not that much of a farce. Money gives you access. A company that is used by everyone in the country easily has access. There’s plenty of humor to this movie, but it has a dark side too.