You know, I don’t know that I would classify Adam McKay’s new film Don’t Look Up a comedy, only because it emphasized that already hopeless feeling that I have for the state that our world is in today. Did I find it funny, though? Oh, of course I did. If I can’t laugh at the state we are in, then I’ll just end up crying and I don’t want to do that.
Don’t Look Up is written and directed by McKay, with an all star cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Mark Rylance, Ron Perlman, Tyler Perry, Jonah Hill, Ariana Grande and Timothee Chalamet. The film follows two Michigan State astronomers who have discovered that a giant comet is headed for direct collision with Earth. A comet that is larger than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. Which, we would hope, would be something that people cared about. However, the two astronomers, Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) and PHD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence) are quick to discover that nobody really seems to care. That everybody is too wrapped up in their own lives, too wrapped in the political climate, too wrapped up in pop culture to really take the two seriously. Sound familiar?
Meryl Streep plays President Orlean, who is more concerned about her poll numbers and manipulating her constitutes, with Jonah Hill playing Jason Orlean, the president’s son and chief of staff, and is, to quote Jonah Hill “if Fyre Festival was a person”. The rest also all played characters that we can all draw real life comparisons to.
Don’t Look Up feels like the satire to end all satires. McKay has a finger on the pulse of our current state and he used it to his advantage. The genius of not only the writing, but the editing is what really got me. The use of parallel editing throughout to draw comparisons was well done and not too in your face. The attention to detail in each scene was impressive. The mise en scene was so well thought out. From the pictures in the backgrounds of the scenes in the White House to the extras on the streets in the city, it’s very clear that every little thing in this film was thought out. It’s safe to assume that nothing is a coincidence.
This film, like so many before it, warns of the dangers of greed and control. It warns of the dangers of climate change. It warns of the dangers of divided political parties. It warns of the dangers of everything relevant to all of us in this moment right now. Even though I felt despair and frustration while watching the film, I also found it very cathartic. I was still able to escape my own reality for a couple of hours.
Don’t Look Up is a film that I truly enjoyed. It’s one that, in good time, I would watch again. Maybe one day when the world is in a better place. Whenever the hell that’ll be.