Which is a hard thing to pull off. With a stellar cast led by DiCaprio, Blanchette, Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, and more, this movie skewers all of us so accurately that some scenes will make you cringe as we see how senseless, selfish, and misguided humans are.
Written and produced by Adam McKay, who did The Big Short, which explained the financial crisis and derivatives in the best way, it takes the trope of a comet headed toward earth being discovered by Jennifer Lawrence’s character and plays it out. How will society react? Given what we’ve seen with the reaction to Covid, we now know it won’t be one of those traditional “let’s all band together and defeat this thing” reaction in the disaster movie genre. After all, while I accurately predicted, and was lambasted for, at least a million deaths from COVID 2 years ago, I didn’t predict a strong anti-vax movement leaving 40 million Americans currently unvaccinated despite ready availability. Tens of thousands are going to die in the coming month due to their own disbelief in science and sheer irrational beliefs. People make that partisan but it’s not. It’s science. Even more than science, it’s REALITY.
In Don’t Look Up, everyone has an angle and saving Earth is a very low priority for most. Science is debunked by amateurs, much as we have so many “experts” on epidemiology with no scientific background who have sprung forth in the past two years.
The title refers to the movement that grows up to deny the reality of the incoming comet: namely, simply, Don’t Look Up. If you don’t, the comet doesn’t exist. Sound familiar? That only begins to change when the comet finally can be seen by the naked eye, but by then, of course, it’s far too late.
The cast is superb. Jennifer Lawrence grounds everything as the grad student who first spotted it. DiCaprio, as her professor, shows how fame can corrupt. Blanchette plays the blonde anchor with no depth perfectly. Fox News will be after her.
The feeling grows that our sheer irrationality is dooming us. Even more than the pandemic, the growing climate crisis is parodied in this film. We know it’s happening, we see it happening all around us, but many deny it and have the mantra of don’t look up.
We need to not only look up and around us, but take action. Before it’s too late.