Adam McKay has managed, throughout his career, to execute hilarious satirical films that really poke fun at the worst of human beings. From writing the story and serving as producer in ‘The Campaign,’ to writing and directing and co-writing the Oscar-winning screenplay of ‘The Big Short’ and the Oscar-nominated ‘Vice.’ While ‘Vice’ and ‘The Big Short’ lifts their stories from real-life, biographical subject matters, his latest outing, ‘Don’t Look Up’ is touted as a science-fiction, satirical black comedy that pokes fun of the media, the American government’s inability to deal with a world-ending crisis, and the human race’s own inability to self-reflect and act against their own sense of entitlement.
‘Don’t Look Up’ is excellent satire as it effectively uses hyperbole and over-the-top caricatures of recognizable and familiar images that we have been seeing in the past decade. Everything from a failed leadership in America (a composite of various American leaders through the years), disgusting displays of capitalism, an arrogant technocrat pushing the world’s buttons for their own ends (is this character a composite for how we see Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk?), and even spoiled children with connections to power.
When Ph.D. candidate Kate Bibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) identifies a comet the size of a mountain heading straight for Earth, she and her professor, Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) must race through the American bureaucracy to get the president to take extreme action or the world will end in less than a year. Unfortunately, current sitting president President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep) is facing a crisis as scandals are wrecking her administration and she refuses to deal with the matter, choosing her political career first.
The 145-minute running time is spent showcasing the worst of humankind. From two very popular morning show hosts (Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry), who only want to keep things positive, to all the people who react with disbelief and then scorn for the two astronomers who are the unfortunate bearers of bad news.
In the course of the film, the narrative manages to highlight how nonsensical politics appears at the face of global catastrophe and that the personal interests of everyone — especially the rich and powerful — always seems to overstep that of the common good of everyone.
‘Don’t Look Up’ is hilariously funny, amplified by the fantastic performances by its amazing cast, but also because it comes with the heavy and painful sting of the truth. Dr. Mindy goes through a character arc of a person who gets swayed and corrupted by the adoration of a noisy public and the pull of pop culture relevance whereas Kate Dibiasky becomes representative of the younger generation with their anxiety and depressed-filled rage against an older generation. Much like today’s teens, the older generation doesn’t take them seriously, and just like real life, Kate is made fun of and demonized.
And while the comet is hurtling through space, coming nearer and nearer to end Earth, McKay transitions between scenes with fast cuts of everyday life, which contextualizes our civilization as it is today: mindlessly going on with its business, it’s day-to-day, giving the impression that they don’t care. So when the realisation finally hits them, the fear and the anxiety that rages through the population does not elicit sympathy from me. Instead, I felt rage.
This is such amazing filmmaking at work here. I’m laughing my ass off but after an hour of all this inanity, I’m starting to get angry. I’m laughing while seething with rage. Because this film is science fiction. As we know, there’s no comet hurtling through space to end us, but climate change is real. The diminishing resources of the world are real. And yet, what is being done?
The youth are clamoring for change and they get made fun of and half of the population is more inclined to keep positive and refuse to deal with the issues at hand.
This movie brought out so much anger from me because it takes an exaggerated portrayal of the human race today and, in the process, really highlights what is essentially wrong with the world today.
And what’s going to be worse? This film has all the potential to be a discussion point, people seeing it in droves because of its amazing cast, and people will laugh, and a few months later, everything will all be back to the status quo.
Don’t Look Up is coming to Netflix this December 24, 2021.
Netflix’s ‘Don’t Look Up’ To Star Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Timothee Chalamet and More
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence Star in the Upcoming Netflix Film ‘Don’t Look Up’