Don’t Look Up is a 2021 American satirical science fiction black comedy film written, produced, and directed by Adam McKay. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as two low-level astronomers attempting to warn mankind, via a media tour, about an approaching comet that will destroy Earth.
Now, the premise itself – the threat of a planet killing asteroid/comet has of course been successfully mined in blockbuster disaster movies such as Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (also 1998) but Don’t Look Up provides a significant twist to that familiar log line.
Basically the twist is this – in this day and age of fake news and alternative facts, would such an existential threat to mankind even get through all the internet/social media noise to even elicit the kind of response postulated in those 1998 movies? Don’t Look Up perfectly captures how much society has changed in these over twenty intervening years. Beyond recognition in fact.
DiCaprio and Lawrence play characters that provide the audience with story avatars as what may seem like common sense and scientific fact gets twisted out of shape by the political and media forces, strongly motivated by naked greed and self-interest.
All the usual suspects are lampooned here wonderfully – from the clueless inadequate President (Meryl Streep, channeling MTG!), to the unqualified Chief of Staff son (Jonah Hill, channeling Don Jr!), to the vapid news presenter (Cate Blanchett, channeling the typical Fox News harpy!) to the vain glorious tech billionaire (Mark Rylance, channeling Bezos and Zuck!) – all these caricatures are instantly recognisable.
The tragedy is that Don’t Look Up might actually be right on the money – even something as straightforward as a comet endangering the earth might never get the attention it deserves in order for the planet to be saved. Look at what has happened in the last two years with COVID-19?! What a brilliant way to encapsulate the shit show that has been 2021. Kudos, Adam McKay!
btw look out for the TWO post-credit scenes (for sure, McKay is doing a Marvel film soon!)
… still there’s more …