In this satirical look at climate change, the government, and the media, Adam McKay throws a star-studded cast into the apocalypse. Charlie Maris reviews.
Adam McKay has created some of the funniest and most interesting comedies of the 21st century. From Anchorman to The Big Short, he has managed to make cinema-goers roar with laughter, whilst exposing some of the stupidity of the modern world.
These expectations were not met by this film
His new film, Don’t Look Up, also has one of the most stuffed casts of recent years with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothee Chalamet, Jonah Hill and Meryl Streep starring, to name just a few. All together, this meant expectations were high going into Don’t Look Up. Unfortunately, these expectations were not met by this film.
The film follows two astronomers (Lawrence and DiCaprio) as they attempt to alert the world to an incoming comet that will end life as we know it. Unfortunately, they are met with ridicule and indifference by the government and the media, no matter how much of the ‘science’ they try to present. A billionaire tech CEO only becomes interested in helping destroy the comet, when he finds out there are huge profits to be made. In case you hadn’t noticed yet, this is all a not-so-veiled allegory for the climate crisis.
Some fun to be had in watching some of the most charismatic performers working today riff-off each other
Now, there is certainly some perfunctory entertainment value within the too-long two-hour eight-minute runtime. It goes without saying there is some fun to be had in watching some of the most charismatic performers working today riff-off each other, and behave absurdly. Jonah Hill, in particular, is extraordinarily funny as the President’s son and Chief of Staff, behaving like a toddler high on power. The rest of the cast are like a Ferrari stuck in traffic; there is something nice to look at there, but you can tell it’s not exactly reaching its potential.
This is where we come to the fundamental problem with Don’t Look Up. The film is trying to be ridiculous, but the world we live in today is just as ridiculous as the film. It is meant to be funny that the President’s son holds power in the White House, but that was the case in real life. This takes the sting out of so much of the writing.
You leave this film asking yourself, what was the point of that?
Satire is meant to ridicule the flaws of the world, but in Don’t Look Up, they just seem to become part of the drama, making the story baggy. I certainly agree that we should be doing more about climate change, but you leave this film asking yourself, what was the point of that? It’s not funny enough to be a comedy, and not compelling enough to be a drama.
Don’t Look Up will distract you enough for an evening, but it is not strong enough to leave any lasting impression. McKay could have easily cut out 30 minutes; Timothee Chalamet only seems to be in this film to attract teenage girls. If the Oscar’s want to maintain any credibility, they must make sure this remains firmly in the nominees, and not the winner of Best Picture. Lastly, I am not even sure this will change anyone’s opinion; those who are worried will be worried and those aren’t worried will continue in blissful ignorance.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image courtesy of @dontlookupfilm via @instagram.com. No changes were made to this image.
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