Post reshared from: https://mashable.com, If an extinction-level comet ever does threaten Earth, then I imagine Don’t Look Up might be something I’d want to watch. But sitting in my living room at the end of two remarkably shitty years, Adam McKay’s latest movie feels about as welcome as a kick in the teeth.It isn’t thoughtlessness that makes Don’t Look Up so brutal. On the contrary, the dark sci-fi comedy from The Big Short writer-director is an intricate lattice work of metaphors and cultural touchstones designed to achieve a devastating effect. There’s a praise-worthy cleverness to their cruelty. Like a funhouse mirror, Don’t Look Up stretches and shrinks real elements from our world to the point of searing mockery.
Like a funhouse mirror, Don’t Look Up stretches and shrinks real elements from our world to the point of searing mockery.
Yet it’s the sense that nothing in McKay’s outrageous satire is all that distorted from “the real thing” that makes watching it so agonizing. The climate change metaphor is obvious. If you know even a fraction of how fucked we really are, then it’ll land with you. But is enlightening the already enlightened productive or pointless?Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star as astronmers, Dr. Randall Mindy and PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky, who open the film by discovering a massive meteoroid on a collision course with Earth. Panicked by their findings, the scientists call in the hapless United States government, helmed by a clearly Trump-inspired Meryl Streep as chain-smoking President Janie Orlean.
Ugh. I mean, I love it but also ugh.
The scientists struggle to be heard at first. But when the pair finally do make meaningful contact with the bureaucratic oaf, her administration isn’t concerned with how the researchers’ outer space expertise could save the planet — only how it could impact their interests. Jonah Hill plays Orlean’s lackey son and Chief of Staff, a Donald Trump Jr. type that is somehow even more punchable than Hill’s preening self-parody in This Is The End. Mark Rylance also appears in the White House’s insidious orbit as tech CEO Peter Isherwell. He’s a Bezos-Jobs-Musk hybrid landing somewhere between an evil Mr. Rogers and Tim Burton’s Willy Wonka, which you have to see to appreciate. These two clowns are offerings in a revolving door of awful, powerful people that gesture almost too directly at the leaders we look to today. A Stepford Wives-esque Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry act as arms of malicious mass media, co-anchoring a talk show called The Daily Rip. Meanwhile, Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi arrive as conduits for celebrity worship culture in a ridiculous paparazzi-ready romance that’s fleeting but funny.
Cate Blanchett looks unreal in this. Literally, unreal.
As the comet nears, these opportunistic snakes slither their way closer and closer to Armageddon with their eyes open but their ears shut. It’s Dr. Mindy and Kate’s emotional journey toward accepting that widespread denial that charts a path through to the end of the film, where oblivion waits. Hanging overhead, a yawning sky of stars signal the approach of the impending doomsday. But any thriller-like tension is subsumed by a knowing, premature grief. We have heard this story before and, more importantly, we know how it ends — even if we’re still living our version of it.
Is enlightening the already enlightened productive or pointless?
Ostensibly, McKay’s apocalyptic comedy exists to serve as a symbolic spur in humanity’s real race against time to rescue our battered and bruised planet. But as it stands, Don’t Look Up plays more like a missed opportunity for commiserating with the people who really get what McKay is worried about. Yes, the pitch-black comedy and general hardness makes sense if you’re trying to horrify bystanders into taking a side. But it’s hard to picture anyone that disengaged intentionally cueing up McKay’s film, let alone making real-world changes in their lives based on its message. This movie doesn’t wield that kind of power, regardless of its presence on Netflix or how many A-listers lent their clout to the project. (Timothée Chalamet is great by the way.)
So instead, the movie demands action from the audience it does have. For me, that felt like being bludgeoned with incontrovertible truths over which I have no control. Sure, pop culture discourse can help shape the things we demand from the government and big business. But short of a mandatory Don’t Look Up screening at the next UN Climate Change Conference, I don’t suspect its smartly made points will reach those with the sway to meaningfully intercede. Without the promise of that practical payoff, watching Don’t Look Up feels like punishment. Maybe that’s how McKay wants us to feel. But I can’t imagine why. If his message rings true — that it is only us who can do something, and only now that we can do it — foretelling of catastrophic failure isn’t so much a rallying cry and it is a depressing excuse to go back to bed. And maybe hope for a comet.Don’t Look Up is in select theaters, then hits Netflix on Dec. 24. Source: Read More