The much-awaited satirical drama of the year, Don't Look Up, dropped on Netflix today and it hits way too close to home.
Directed and written by Adam McKay, Don't Look Up revolves around two astronomers who just want people to look up and act before a planet-destroying comet leads everyone to extinction. The star-studded film makes a plea to act before it's too late by basing its story on a truly possible event.
Note: This article contains spoilers.
'Don't Look Up': Review
Netflix's Don't Look Up is like a wake-up call for its viewers. Although the film might be a satirical drama, it focuses on the most important aspects of today's world while also telling viewers to snap out of denial. It unfolds as a funny yet horrifying allegory of how world leaders and media are dealing with global warming, more like overlooking its consequences.
Director Adam McKay challenges viewers through Don't Look Up, by giving a hypothetical yet almost real situation of surviving a destructive comet destined to destroy the planet. While the expected time is six months, the film shows how the world might react if it ever came true. It's like an attempt to narrow down, predict and comment on the global reactions to such catastrophic events.
McKay has been known to turn anti-capitalist critiques into popular Hollywood films, such as The Big Short and Vice. Don't Look Up follows two not-so-popular astronomers, Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) and Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), who discover a planet-destroying comet. They then attempt to warn the world about it through the most powerful person, the President of the United States, but fail to make her believe.
The two embark on a media tour by themselves, which turns bizarre and spins out of control because humans always give in to the herd mentality. Later, President Orlean (Meryl Streep), who is no less than a female version of Donald Trump, decides to get involved after she becomes a part of a scandal. Her involvement in this is to obviously fix her image and turn the comet-destroying mission into her Go-America moment, because that's what politicians do.
The team then sets out on a mission to destroy the comet before it even reaches the planet's sphere. But the mission is compromised by their mega-donor tech mogul Isherwell (Mark Rylance), who tells them that the minerals in the comet are worth $140 trillion, which would act as a benefit for them, again missing the entire 'planet-destroying comet' point.
The realest of them all and someone who is scared to death by the comet, Kate, rants on television about the craziness and selfishness she is seeing around her, in an attempt to snap everyone back to reality. But she was made to go 'off the grid' by the authorities. Meanwhile, the calm and collected Dr. Mindy becomes an overnight media sensation, not because of his knowledge but due to his handsome looks and genial personality.
Among the list of ignorant names are cheerful news show presenters, Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry), who are no less than the typical news presenters one sees. They are the kind who wish to keep the bad news (a.k.a. a planet-destroying comet) light because a celebrity breakup matters more. There's also Phillip, portrayed by Himesh Patel, who is the kind of journalist who has given the profession a bad name.
McKay's projects, like Don't Look Up and his executively produced show Succession, make one wonder if they can really be called a satire, considering they are way too real and exhibit the kind of behavior one already sees in reality.
McKay's filming style in Don't Look Up combines disjointed videos and images to communicate a point that is very much like the way people consume and comprehend news today.
Don't Look Up also feels similar to Mike Judge's Idiocracy, which is set in 2505 America, where mindless entertainment and violence are what really matter. It also sheds light on how the world's collective IQ has hit its lowest, which is why Don't Look Up is like a 21st-century version of it.
Perhaps when the time comes, the world might stand divided between looking up and not looking up because the herd mentality is so deeply instilled in every human that it blinds them to their very core.
Don't Look Up is now streaming on Netflix.
Note: The article solely reflects the writer's views.