Don't Look Up mirrors our reality - and the future is bleak
A funny and frightening look at modern society.
That, if nothing else, is the takeaway from Adam McKay's latest film, Don't Look Up.
There's a good few laughs in this apocalyptic comedy, but don't expect light hearted fun. This star-studded satire gives viewers a lesson in human stupidity and greed through the use of a brilliant metaphor for the threat of humanity's biggest problem - climate change.
The movie begins with astronomy grad student Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) and her professor Dr Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) making an amazing discovery - a colossal comet orbiting within our solar system.
Celebrations quickly turn to terror as the pair realise it's on a direct collision course with Earth. Humanity has six months to live. Together they must warn the world but, naturally, nobody really cares - including the President (Meryl Streep) and her arrogant son Jason (Jonah Hill).
Given no other option, the astronomers team up with Nasa's Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan) and embark on a desperate journey to get the word out there. Along the way, they're labelled as crazy by the media, laughed at, and turned into memes - as well as being hilariously condemned by "comet deniers" and conspiracy theorists.
And, honestly, it's all a little too familiar - we've seen what happens to people like Greta Thunberg when they talk about humanity's impending doom.
Jennifer Lawrence does an amazing job of capturing the anger and frustration I've seen in climate activists I know in real life - continuously morphing between fleeting hope and utter hopelessness. It's hard not to sympathise with Leo's nerdy and anxiety-ridden character too, even if he makes some poor choices along the way.
Every good movie needs a villain and Mark Ryland's role of CEO of a tech/media company perfectly captures the evil billionaire caricature. Think Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk combined. His voice and creepy un-human mannerisms (looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg) will make your skin crawl.
It truly is infuriating to watch those in power care more about "trillions of dollars" than the survival of humanity but, unfortunately, it's not too far from the truth.
There's a scene where Leo's character joins an emergency Cabinet meeting and questions why trillions of dollars would even matter if we're all dead. He is met with a cacophony of laughter.
Other standout moments include a performance by Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi - these two seem to exist only as a reminder of how humanity cares about trivial things like pop stars and celebrity gossip - where they sing a doomsday song begging people to "just look up".
It's hard to make a comedy about the end of the world - especially when it's closer to reality than ever before - but Adam McKay knew his story wouldn't work any other way right now: "I knew I needed to make a comedy, because I felt like after these last few years, we really, really needed to laugh," he said.
And it's true. After almost two years of a global pandemic and crazy political divisions, sometimes it feels like we're living in a world gone mad, and none of us need more bad news. The comedic moments, although more subtle than laugh-out-loud, help soften the blow.
If nothing else, this film will make you open your eyes to one of the biggest problems facing mankind. And, you'll probably realise that humans are pretty stupid too.
Don't Look Up premieres in select cinemas on Friday 10 December. It will be available to stream on Netflix from 24 December.
Watch the trailer below.
— Don’t Look Up News (@DontLookUpNews) November 16, 2021