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Don’t Look Up Review: A superb satire on climate change.

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Don’t Look Up is the new black-comedy disaster movie by award-winning writer and director Adam McKay. Featuring a star-studded cast, including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, and Rob Morgan (the list could go on), Don’t Look Up will have you thinking for days about the state of the world we live in and how to look after our planet.

McKay who has been on a roll, turning anti-capitalist critiques into popular Hollywood films, starting with The Big Short and following it with Vice, delivers mostly pitch-perfect satire. The movie tells the story of low-level astronomer and professor Dr. Randall Mindy (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and Ph.D. student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) who discover a huge comet is heading directly to Earth, threatening to destroy the entire planet. With the help of scientist Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), the trio attempt to make the world aware of its impending doom, but largely go unheard, before it’s too late. With a reckless president, President Orlean (Meryl Streep), and Elon-Musk type figure Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) ruining all hopes of a rescue mission, the world is forced to face potential extinction.

Checkout the trailer of Don’t Look Up here:

A Donald Trump stand-in President, played by a sneering Meryl Streep, wonders if taking a firm stance on the issue could affect her chances of getting re-elected. Her Chief of Staff is her hyper-materialistic son Jason (Jonah Hill) who frequently comments on her mom’s hotness. “Keep it simple, no math”, scientist Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan) advises the astronomers about briefing the pea-brained Orleans. They initially brush off Mindy and Dibiasky’s concerns but come around when President Orlean gets involved in a sex scandal, for which she plans to fix her image by turning the comet-destroying mission into her Go-America moment.

The Orleans’ plans to destroy the comet are soon compromised by their mega-donor, tech mogul Isherwell (Mark Rylance), who tells the White House that there are $140 trillion worth of useful minerals in the comet, so it should be allowed to hit earth.

She decides to deny that there is a Mount Everest-sized rock headed her way, which inspires her legions of mostly middle-America supporters to adopt the slogan ‘don’t look up’. They go on demonstrations against Lawrence and DiCaprio’s characters—Randall Mindy and Kate Dibiasky—who must now deal with not just a useless President and an apathetic media, but also the large section of the population that is in complete denial of everything that they say. As Streep’s President Orlean declares in one scene, “You can’t go around telling people they have a 100% chance of dying.”

When the news of the comet breaks, mainstream media is more obsessed with a celebrity relationship. Politicians and businessmen scamper to strategically capitalize on the extinction-level natural phenomenon, ignoring the hoarse cries of scientists and qualified experts asking them to just…look up.

Don't Look Up
DON’T LOOK UP (L to R) LEONARDO DICAPRIO as DR. RANDALL MINDY, and JENNIFER LAWRENCE as KATE DIBIASKY.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Randall Mindy and Jennifer Lawrence’s Kate Dibiasky have diametrically opposite personalities. Still, the actors skillfully balance each other out. As Randall and Kate try to make sense of everyone’s attitude to the impending disaster, they both lose track of the bigger picture when they get caught up in the media storm. Even when McKay’s screenplay gets side-tracked with subplots, DiCaprio and Lawrence’s journeys keep the narrative grounded, courtesy of their performances. Jonah Hill is hilarious as the smarm-filled Jason Orlean, son of President Janie Orlean, featuring Meryl Streep in predictably fine form. Cate Blanchett does her best impression of a morally ambiguous talk show host as Brie Evantee. However, Mark Rylance’s compelling caricature of an eccentric billionaire in Peter Isherwell often overshadows the rest of the cast.

The film unfolds as a funny and horrifying allegory of how world leaders, corporations, and big media is dealing with global warming and its consequences. McKay and co-writer David Sirota, who is the editor-at-large at American socialist magazine Jacobin, accomplish this by giving the movie’s characters the challenge of surviving a destructive comet that will hit the Earth in six months. By expediting the process of imminent destruction that climate change is expected to bring, McKay and Sirota attempt to narrow down, predict, and comment on global reactions to cataclysmic events.

Also Read: ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ release date delayed to 2023.

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