So I watched Don’t Look Up…
It’s amazing how life can be stranger than fiction. Don’t Look Up is meant to be this over-the-top, satirical view of how the world views science and natural disasters but it often feels more subdued and grounded in reality than the events that are making news in real life. That’s a troubling sign I think…
Okay, basic plot: Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is a doctoral candidate in astronomy who is thrilled when she discovers a new comet. However Kate’s excitement soon turns to dread when her and her mentor – Professor Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) – calculate that the comet is on a collision course with Earth. Roughly the size of Mount Everest, the comet has the potential to wipe out all life on Earth. Kate and Mindy’s attempts to share the news and hopefully spark a planet-saving movement are met with skepticism, denial and flat-out apathy.
It’s scary how accurate this film’s depiction of how the world would react to a global threat is. The comet is meant to be a metaphor for climate change but you could substitute Corona virus in there and the events seem like they would play out the same; mainly because we’ve been living this movie for the last two years. Adam McKay does a fantastic job encapsulating how scientific fact becomes entangled and mangled in the web of politics, corporate greed and society’s inherent distrust of well…everything. This film feels like less of a comedy than McKay’s previous work and serves more of a cautionary tale of where the world could end up if the status quo continues.
This film has a great deal of stars and they all bring the expected level of quality to their roles. DiCaprio and Lawrence are at the film’s helm and do a good job leading the film’s frontline. DiCaprio felt perfect for his role as bumbling, nerdy astronomer – Professor Mindy. DiCaprio’s activism for climate change is well noted and that adds a realism to this role as a man fighting to have the world face a hard truth. His character goes through a rather interesting arc dealing with the allure and corruption that comes with fame and notoriety which DiCaprio depicts rather well. Jennifer Lawrence’s character serves as the film’s moral compass and her character remains the most consistent throughout the film. I really enjoyed Lawrence’s acting and her dour portrayal of Dibiasky was perfect.
A special mention has to be given to Meryl Streep who does a wonderful job showing us what Donald Trump would be if he was a woman. She’s one of the greatest actors ever for a reason and she shows why in this movie. She’s funny but classy and although not in a lot of the movie, she steals every scene she’s in. My favourite performance of the film has to go to Mark Rylance. He plays Peter Isherwell – a tech billionaire who feels like an amalgamation of Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. His portrayal feels like a robot imitating what it feels like a human being should be. It’s just so spot on for what is generally said about these real life visionaries.
There was one performance in this film that I just didn’t enjoy and that’s Timothée Chalamet as Yule – a grungy teenager. I just didn’t buy his performance. Chalamet just isn’t believe as this rebellious, edgy teenager. Maybe if Yule was a nerdy virgin or an asexual android. It’s really the only weak link in an otherwise strong acting chain.
This film does work well in most parts but I think it sometimes gets the balance wrong between giving us huge world-ending stakes and a personal story to care about. This was always going to be difficult giving the amount of characters in this film and the amount of famous stars behind them. Everyone needs their fifteen minutes and because of this the film often feels lacking direction or missing soul.
Overall, Don’t Look Up is a fun satire that (unfortunately) accurately depicts how the world would deal with a crisis. There’s a bevy of great actors who do a great job bringing a humourous script to life. It’s worth watching 8/10