Don't Look Up (2021) Review
Updated: Jan 1, 2022
THIS year's blockbuster season has seen a noticeable lack of adult-orientated comedies, however, Oscar-winning director Adam McKay returns with a vengeance to spice up the political landscape with his satirical comedy centring around politicians and the end of the world as we know it.
Two low-level astronomers Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) have their lives changed forever after discovering a cataclysmic comet on a direct impact towards Earth. With 6 months before impact, Randall and Kate must go on a nationwide media campaign to warn everybody about the impending threat - even if President Orlean (Meryl Streep) doesn't believe them.
Written and directed by McKay, Don't Look Up isn't afraid at speaking its mind, taking blatant aim towards the United States government (and world leaders in general) for their short-minded ways of dealing with the evident disaster that is climate change. A planet destroying comet may not be the same as climate control, but the message being conveyed still remains - an immediate threat is coming that is being ignored by politicians; a message that, while not original, is handled with as much class as a satirical comedy can, as well as being able to stand true for any generation viewing Don't Look Up for the first time.
There have been a lot of star-studded films this year, but for my money, Don't Look Up may just take the cake in terms of sheer ensemble quality. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play off one another brilliantly throughout the entire movie, asserting their frustration and commitment to the cause in intelligent and hilarious ways. DiCaprio, in particular, delivers a phenomenal speech during the third act about the media's ignorance towards life-threatening disasters which is made better by his impassioned delivery and constant amount of blood rushing to his face, enhancing what was already an award-worthy performance. Don't discount Jennifer Lawrence however as she also does a terrific job, and in many scenes, does even better then her male counterpart. Lawrence plays a more lackadaisical role when compared to DiCaprio, willing to do anything to achieve their goal while also being unafraid of the consequences. Lawrence's onscreen love interest, Yule (Timothee Chalamet), brings emotion to Dibiasky's narrow-minded persona which, thankfully, shifts upon meeting Yule. Unfortunately, Chalamet isn't given nearly enough time to develop a meaningful relationship with Dibiasky, making the subplot feel injected without reason - especially when there are a slew of subplots which could've easily been removed to make time for the most important one. Other standout actors in Don't Look Up include Meryl Streep as the egotistical President Orlean, playing the role of the preverbal villain of our story to a tee, Cate Blanchett as talk show host Brie Evantee in a playfully-devilish role for the acclaimed actress, Jonah Hill as President Orlean's Chief of Staff and son who took inspiration from a former United States President for this latest role, and Mark Rylance as Peter Isherwell in a near carbon-copy of billionaire Elon Musk which, surprisingly, was one of the funniest actors in the movie.
Premise wise, Don't Look Up isn't the most original piece of media out there, but in terms of sheer quality, you can't go wrong with Netflix's latest blockbuster. Despite feeling disjointed and long-winded in moments, Adam McKay's satirical doomsday comedy manages to achieve greatness through simplicity in a film that isn't afraid to speak volumes about the likelihood of a situation like this one from occurring.