DON’T LOOK UP (15)
D: Adam McKay
Netflix / Hyperobject / Bluegrass (Adam McKay & Kevin Messick)
US 🇺🇸 2021
W: Adam McKay & Kevin Messick
DP: Linus Sandgren
Ed: Hank Corwin
Mus: Nicholas Britell
Leonardo DiCaprio (Dr. Randall Mindy), Jennifer Lawrence (Kate Dibiasky), Rob Morgan (Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe), Meryl Streep (Janie Orlean), Jonah Hill (Jason Orlean), Mark Rylance (Peter Isherwell), Tyler Perry (Jack Bremmer), Cate Blanchett (Brie Evantee), Timothee Chalamet (Yule)
Don’t Look Up is a satirical disaster movie from writer-director Adam McKay which is bound to receive mixed reviews from its audience. I, myself, wasn’t too sure what to make of it upon my first viewing, as it’s a little more multi-layered than what you get at face value.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play a pair of astronomers who discover a new comet on a collision course with the Earth, but when they take their evidence to the US President, their concerns are dismissed and they don’t receive due respect from the press when they leak the news.
The presidential administration does, however, begin to take interest when it’s of benefit to them, but a technology billionaire and philanthropist to the presidency has a conflict of interest in the best way to deal with the impending disaster.
The film is as frustrating as it is entertaining, but you can’t deny that it does a good job in subverting expectations. The performances are purposefully over-the-top, and even seem deliberately miscast, though Leonardo DiCaprio is easily the standout and seems incredibly convincing as an astronomy professor. Unfortunately, it’s less so for Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep and Mark Rylance, whose performances fluctuate between unconvincing and downright irritating.
Nevertheless, when you consider that Adam McKay’s previous films include Anchorman, The Big Short and Vice, you have to take the seriousness of the film with a pinch of salt, even though it does deal with a serious subject.
Some people have considered the subject matter here to be a metaphor for climate change, whilst others have made parallels to the Covid-19 pandemic. Personally, I saw it more as a satire on how obsessed with celebrity culture society has become, whilst distrust of politicians and the media have also become commonplace.
Thankfully, McKay’s work doesn’t seem to have a political bias, and isn’t overly preachy with its message, leaving some things ambiguous for the viewer to decide.
It’s a difficult film to rate, as it probably isn’t as clever as it thinks it is, and does have some gratingly annoying moments, but it’s also a film that will leave you thinking about it days after watching.