Oh, this one isn’t going to be divisive.
Adam McKay’s new satire on Netflix is going to split the viewers apart because it parodies plenty of current issues. To be fair, and I am not sure some will be such, it does not make either side look great. There was enough satire to go around.
Astronomy professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and astronomy grad student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) made a startling discovery. There was a massive comet heading straight at the earth, preparing to strike the planet in 6 months, which would lead to a catastrophic event.
They went to see United States President Orlean (Meryl Streep) with their concerns only to be rebuked and told that their comet would be something that they would observe and reassess. This led to Mindy and Dibiasky to begin their own media campaign to get the message out to the public.
The whole comet about to hit the earth became a giant analogy for the COVID-19 struggles, with our science vs. disbelief with Mindy taking the role of Dr. Fauci. Dr. Mindy was not free of being parodied as DiCaprio took that character to several questionable moments, including an affair with a talk show host from the Daily Rip, Brie (Cate Blanchett).
Not only was the COVID response skewered by this movie, so was social media and what becomes important. Celebrity stories outweighing important news and the public turning events into memes are all over the film.
Jonah Hill played White House Chief of Staff and son of President Orlean, Jason, an obvious shot toward Donald Trump Jr. and some of the other nepotism that went on during that administration. But Trump was not the administration that had some shots fired. There was a photo on her desk of President Orlean hugging Bill Clinton.
The film shoots at the extremely wealthy and their disregard for the climate of the world in order to become even wealthier. Mark Rylance played a character named Peter Isherwell, who convinces President Orlean to mine the comet before breaking it away from orbit.
Political messages are another target here. When Dr. Mindy could see the comet in the sky, he started a campaign about just looking to the sky and, in response, we saw huge campaign rallies, led by President Orlean, with the message “Don’t Look Up.”
There may be too much satire in the story, as things get kind of ridiculous. The sad part is it also felt too real and familiar. I think McKay should have balanced out the satirical elements a bit more so his message didn’t become so obvious. He is going to lose people who claim he is “preaching” to them, even though, as I said earlier, there was enough mockery to go around.
There was a huge cast and some of the actors that I haven’t mentioned yet include Tyler Perry, Rob Morgan, Ron Perlman, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, Himesh Patel and Michael Chiklis.
As I said, I don’t think the audience will look past some of the divisiveness in Don’t Look Up, but I found it a funny, dark comedy with some real laugh out loud moments.