‘Don’t Look Up’ is just a message, not a movie


Rightly or not, Don’t look up has gained a prominent place in contemporary pop culture.

With a stacked, high-profile cast and comedic tone, the Netflix original depicts a reality where a devastating comet is heading for Earth.

The film is written and directed by Adam McKay, known for comedies such as The big court and Half brothers. Since its release in December, it has received intense media buzz due to its key, somewhat controversial message.

Much to the dismay of the scientists embodied by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, everyone from self-obsessed American politicians to the meme-obsessed public refuses to take the threat of mass extinction seriously.

As I pressed play, I was both amused and distraught to see the characters in power unable to grasp the seriousness of the comet’s threat.

This ignorance is most evident in Meryl Streep’s selfish, money-hungry portrayal of the President of the United States accompanied by Jonah Hill, who snobbishly plays her son and chief of staff. Together, they form a Trump-esque duo, mirroring his nationalistic rallies, his contempt for science and his sexually inappropriate remarks about his family members.

Don’t look up satirically exaggerates a scientific fact denied and then highly politicized by world leaders, who make their decisions to benefit only the upper class.

The climate crisis and the pandemic are the two most obvious comet metaphors in the film. Through don’t look up, McKay points out that we live in a society that allows us to sidestep scientific fact and ignore the threat of our own self-destruction for the short-term gain of the wealthy.

The star-studded list of actors was what got me watching this movie, and they were just funny enough to get me through it. Fans of Timothée Chalamet will be happy to know that the actor makes a cameo appearance and has two lines on fingerling potatoes and Twitch streaming.

But what stands out most about this film is its strong warning message. A message so strong, in fact, that the film was almost all message and no film.

I developed a deep sense of apathy for Don’t look upThe roster of characters is mostly unlikable, and I started to think they deserved their fate. Perhaps that was the filmmaker’s intention: the purpose of this film was not to make the best new comedy, but to blatantly reveal that something is seriously wrong with our society.

In Don’t look up, we are moving into a reality in which people close their ears to scientific truths and politicians are reluctant to enact legislation that will negatively affect their exponentially wealthy backers. This film shines a light on how harmful we and our leaders have become to the world.

Overall watch Don’t look up was a Christmas Eve spent well with my family.

Even though I had to split my focus and watch a few TikToks to keep my interest in the movie going, I can appreciate it for what it was: a buzzy comedy with lots of big names and big messages.


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