Don’t Look Up
Check your brain at the door and this star-studded disaster movie will happily take you for a ride.
It’s hard to know if the parade of star performances facilitates the extravagant plot of Don’t Look Up or gets in the way.
Suffice to say, there’s a lot going on in Adam McKay’s new satire, but it’s also lots of fun provided you don’t take it all too seriously. One minor point… it sort of asks you to take it seriously, too.
When astronomers Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) and Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo di Caprio) stumble onto a 10km wide comet on track to collide with Earth in just six months, not many believe them. Certainly not the populist President (Meryl Streep), constantly worried about her image, nor her son and Chief of Staff (Jonah Hill), who adopt a “wait and assess” strategy.
In despair the two turn -foolishly- to the media where morning TV hosts (Cate Blanchett, Tyler Perry) keep the conversation light with punchlines and asides, leaving our heroes to resemble paranoid lunatics. But a scandal closer to home will see the President latch onto the cause in the hope of an heroic act of red, white and blue, prompting the comet to become a craze sweeping the planet. Cue the fake news, social media and anti-
McKay’s rollercoaster script entails romances of convenience, end-of-days declarations, interfering billionaires, and clashes of politics and religion. That leaves plenty of room for star cameos including Ariana Grande (whose comet pop song is hilariously scary), Ron Perlmann as a gung-ho astronaut, Timothée Chalamet as a lovelorn teen, Mark Rylance as a visionary entrepreneur, Rob Morgan as a scientist and more.
While Streep’s over-the-top President (no prizes for guessing her inspiration) and Blanchett’s cheesy morning host are delicious fun, it is Di Caprio’s seething calm that works as the spine of the film. It’s a bit unfortunate a sub-plot with Blanchett gets in the way of the logic we are asked to follow, and the film is a tad too long.
The other question is whether the Armageddon on the screen is more catastrophic, more credible, than one going on for real, just beyond our screens. But maybe while we all battle a once-in-a-100 year pandemic it’s possible to lose ourselves and laugh at the impending doom Hollywood has dreamt up?
Don’t Look Up screens Friday December 24 on Netflix.