7 February, 2022
Netflix has just released another hit movie called Don’t Look Up, breaking a Netflix viewing record with over 150 million views in just the second week. The movie is directed and written by Adam Mckay, who is responsible for other films such as Ant Man (2015) and Step Brothers (2008).
Don’t Look Up is a political satire/dark comedy/sci-fi movie in which two astronomers named Kate Dibiasky and Dr. Mindy, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo Dicaprio , discover a disastrous comet swiftly approaching earth. They proceed to go on a media tour to warn society of the dangers coming their way. But the issue is that nobody in the world, not even the President, takes their concerns seriously.
For a political satire, it depicts a dark situation that mirrors the sad reality, which is that the majority of society ignores scientific discoveries due to the combination of capitalism and social media’s influence. For many viewers, this is relatable because of the global pandemic and climate issues humans are simultaneously going through this decade.
To be specific, there is a scene in which Kate is ridiculed by social media because of her breakdown on national television about the comet. This scene is similar to when Greta Thunberg was mocked in 2018 for being close to tears while warning society about global warming.
Although the movie may seem too close enough to reality for viewers to find the story humorous, the satirical element comes through when situations are exaggerated. For example, the movie depicts big science institutions blatantly ignoring the existence of the comet whereas in real life big institutions such as NASA, are quick to report on scientific news regarding earth. Additionally, the idea of a pop star’s breakup causing more uproar than the announcement of a comet nearing to end humanity. This is mocking ‘stantwitter,’ a subculture on the social media platform where users dedicate their accounts to discussing celebrities’ personal lives.
A highlight about this film is it’s casting and creative elements like the mood set by the background music. The casting emphasizes Leonardo Dicaprio’s and Meryl Streep’s extensive filmography. Both gave excellent performances, especially Streep who captured the essence of a villainous conceited President perfectly.
The official sound track of this movie features an original song Just look up, written to counter the message that humans are told throughout the movie. It was written and performed by Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi, who both have cameos in the film. It sets the mood for the climax of the film, performed at a live event by fictional pop star Riley Bina. She sings in an attempt to persuade society to simply be aware of what’s happening around them, supporting the message of the film.
Comparing this film to other releases in the last few years under this genre such as Happy Death Day ( 2017) or 2012 (2009), which are also about the end of the world, Don’t Look Up may seem to fall short. But for someone who’s already into Adam Mckay’s never-ending filmography with memorable gems like Get Hard (2011) or The Big Short (2015) it’s a work of art.
Out of 10 this movie deserves an 8. It did a great job at depicting a disastrous situation, shamelessly leaving viewers with the question “If our society has ethics similar to the one in the movie, will we face the same fate? ” Mckay addressed real topics like how social media would rather proudly show their obsession with celebrities’ lives (Stan culture), than listen and open our eyes to actual issues concerning our society. In general society has grown desensitized by the effects of social media that a movie directly addressing it may feel abnormal. It’s the call out that society needs and the uproar from some critics about the movie story line further proves that.
Overall, Don’t Look Up provides powerful insight into climate change and societal ignorance. The film takes real life situations and exaggerates them for comedic effect, making it easier for viewers to be hooked .