Don’t Look Up
Director Adam McKay is not known for being subtle. Former head writer for Saturday Night Live, writer and director for Anchorman, Talladega Nights and The Big Short, shows us that he has a distinct comedy style and usually something to say about what is going on in the world. McKay gives us a very different kind of disaster movie with political satire “Don’t Look Up.’
Leonardo DiCaprio plays a college professor, Dr. Randall Mindy. Dr. Mindy is an unsure professional father and husband from a small town. One of his astronomy graduate students, Kate Dibiasky, is played by Jennifer Lawrence. She discovers a comet in our solar system that is headed directly towards earth. The comet is not just any kind of comet, it is what’s known as a planet killer. As they come to terms with what a big deal this event is, they get pulled into a whirlwind of politics, press, social media and well.... inexcusable human behavior.
Along with DiCaprio and Lawrence we have Meryl Streep who plays the President of The United States. Johan Hill who plays the son of the president and also Chief of Staff. These two characters are very reminiscent of well-known political powers with added dramatics. Streep is a President fueled by fame, social media likes and who they know. It is over dramatized and, in your face, yet at the same time feels so real and familiar it sometimes gets dramatically uncomfortable.
Then we get to the media portion of the movie. Kate Blanchette and Tyler Perry play television entertainment news anchors who care more about the entertainment and likeability factor of their show then actually telling factual news. McKay is pulling on all of our vulnerable emotions and defensive thoughts from the past 4 years. Even though this story takes place in a more futuristic timeframe, there is no mistake that this movie is a parallel universe from what has been going on in our current world.
There are some really great moments in the film, some great writing and defiantly these actors getting into places we have never seen them before. What I like about this movie the most is that it shows human behavior at its best and worst. Yes, it is over dramatized sometimes to a point of utter ridiculousness. And there are a few times in the middle of the movie that it gets messy and a little off course. I can forgive most of that because I think it goes with exactly what point this movie was meant to make. Even if the world is coming to an end all around us, we as humans will find a way to politicize and monetize it. Are we our own worst enemy?
This movie is stressful, funny, at points compellingly accurate while being totally asinine. Most people who go to see this film will relate in more than one way. You will feel angry, sad, thrilled and ultimately fired up by the time you leave. Discussions will be had and arguments will be made, I do not think this is the best movie of the year, but I do think it is worth a watch. Director Adam McKay had something to say with this movie and he was not shy about it. The actors all leaned in and made it one of the most entertaining movies of the year. I wish that he would go back through and tighten up the story and editing a bit. All in all, Gutsy.
In select theaters December 10 and on Netflix December 24.