Don’t Look Up is a witty, satirical comedy with an all-star cast. Writer and director, Adam McKay makes a bold statement with this Netflix film and unapologetically shares his stance on current politics through ridiculous parallels in Don’t Look Up.
This comedy centers around two astronomers(Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) who make a devastating discovery of an incoming comet that has the power to destroy earth. After said discovery, the two must face the chaos of media tours and politics.
Adam McKay has written a film that truly encompasses the insanity that our country has endured in recent years. Allusions to the COVID-19 pandemic, corrupt capitalist politics, and the media’s pop culture priorities are painted vividly in this science-fiction piece. The subject matter was creatively told through an effective ticking bomb story with use of the incoming comet that keeps audiences curious and eager to see what happens next.
At times, the story came off as a bit overwhelming or lost, as though McKay bit off more than he could chew when it came to the topics presented. In a sense this did add to the chaos of the film which mirrors the chaos of our world, but ultimately was a lot to digest as a viewer. However despite this, the film still managed to entertain and earn hearty laughs from the audience.
This film succeeded in portraying the reality of our society’s oversaturated media consumption. In many films, the editing and usage of social media and technology is dated or unrealistic but Don’t Look Up hits the nail right on its head by harnessing the many different facets of the internet. youth, and current humor/trends. Examples of this include internet trolls, live streams, conspiracy theorists, and much more. While this aspect of the film may not be appreciated by older audiences who are less tech savvy, it is a riot for media-familiar viewers.
While the editing succeeded in the social media realm, it proved to be lazy in others. At times the editing felt choppy and almost unfinished. There were moments in the film that were difficult to distinguish between intentional cuts and potential mistakes. This was disappointing, seeing as those cuts were so distracting that it managed to take away attention from the progression of the plot.
While these cuts were few, they were impactful in all the wrong ways. Another bothersome editing choice was the inclusion of stock footage from NASA and other associations. The intention was to bring an element of nature that distinctly paralleled the modern tech age juxtaposed by the incoming devastation of life. The vision is clear, however, it reads as lazy and uninspired. It aesthetically distracted from the rest of the film’s cinematography and appeared as misplaced stock footage.
In terms of acting, the film is chock-full of genuine talent. To no surprise, Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy and Meryl Streep as President Orlean were particularly strong and memorable performances. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a vulnerable and likable character as Dr. Mindy. He succeeds in giving a stellar performance even in this role, which is more subdued and restrained. Meryl Streep played an anti-heroine that is equally disagreeable and hilarious. She gave life to her character and did not disappoint as a celebrity politician, giving a dimensional quality to the performative nature of President Orlean.
A couple of other honorable mentions include Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky and Jonah Hill as Jason Orlean. Jennifer Lawrence expressed pure frustration and outburst of emotion in her role, which was honest and raw. Her character was written well and performed even better, giving the audience a well developed voice of reason to root for and resonate with.
Jonah Hill delivered some of the most memorable lines from the film as Jason Orlean. The commitment to character was clear and thoroughly amusing. Jonah Hill’s exaggerated, improvised comedy is irresistible and always spot on. This proves to be true in Don’t Look Up and was incredibly valuable to the film’s comedic success.
While this film is entertaining, it is not meant for everyone. It is certainly suited for audiences well in touch with current events, politics, and pop culture. After such a maddening and hopeless few years, Don’t Look Up takes real life issues and pokes fun at the absurd nature of the world around us and effectively relieves some built up tension that many hold from the distress of recent events. Some may find the film’s themes hit too close to home or may be in bad taste, but McKay sends a thought-provoking message through his film that may just be worth your time if you can bear to sit through a campy satirical comedy.