Don’t Look Up Movie Review & Film Summary: A Reminder of The Grim Future

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Video Source – Netflix (Netflix YouTube Channel)

Adam McKay directed movie, Don’t Look Up is a satirical reminder that the world is ending and as important as that is, not many care enough. With a cast that all future productions will envy, the movie runs for 2 hrs. 25 mins and was released in select theatres on 5th December 2021. It has been available on Netflix since 24th December 2021. 

Don’t Look Up Movie Cast

  • Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky
  • Leonardo Di Caprio as Dr. Randall Mindy 
  • Meryl Streep as Janie Orlean
  • Jonah Hill as Jason Orlean
  • Timothée Chalamet as Yule

Don’t Look Up Movie Plot

Dr. Randall Mindy and PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky discover a comet that it speedily heading towards Earth. The comet is about 9kms wide and is supposed to hit Earth in 6 months which would result in mass extinction. Worried about the near future, they head to DC to inform President Orlean and hope to save Earth from destruction. 

Don’t Look Up Movie Review

Don’t Look Up Movie Review

The end of yet another year is approaching. Personally, there is no recollection of how this year went as I seem to have been stuck in my own ground hog day. Each day is the same as the one before and yet the year seems to have gone by so fast. Humans get accustomed to everything so quickly. Corona Virus 19 was a scary and dreadful thing but now it doesn’t faze anyone. “Oh, Covid is part of life now. It is okay, there is anyway nothing that I can do about it so why bother. Let’s go to a packed Christmas Party instead.”

Humans not only get accustomed to things but also don’t care about it. Everything is simply a trend. The quote “Everyone is famous for 15 minutes” is a sad commentary on how even the gravest of situation will be lost on people as soon as there is a next big thing. Adam McKay explored this phenomenon is his new movie with a cast that has been famous for long. 

Leo is a mighty talented actor that often his passion for the world sometimes takes a back seat. In the movie, he plays the role of a man, Dr. Randall, who is concerned about the upcoming doom along with his student, Kate Dibiasky played by Jennifer Lawrence. While Leo is an advocate for protecting the environment unconditionally, his character is more on the grey area of it all. 

Kate and Randall head on to Washington D.C along with Dr. Teddy (Rob Morgan) to explain the situation to President Orlean. Orlean is played by the fabulous Meryl Streep who for some reason thinks that the pandemic made her forget how to act. Jonah Hill plays her chief of staff and son, Jason Orlean. They make the two scientists wait over 36 hours before they call them on and dismiss their discovery. In the scene where they are listening to Randall and Kate explain how the comet will lead to a definite end for Earth, the camera reflects the distracting nature of the most powerful political figure by zooming into random objects like her purse; photos with celebrities and cigarettes. 

Throughout the entire movie, the cinematography reflects the thoughts of the most influential/powerful person in the scene. Making it absolutely necessary for the viewer to know in what way the happenings of the scene is being observed by the person. Orlean’s purse is shown multiple times throughout the movie. It is interesting how McKay paralleled the importance of the world ending to otherwise useless materialistic possessions. Orlean cared about the purse as much as she cared about the world ending. 

For me, the cinematography of the movie was the most surprising part. There were so many moments where I was grinning more for the smartness of the shot than the joke in itself. One of the reasons why Randall was in the grey was because of how he was balancing the severity of the comet along with his sudden rise to fame. Having been played by Leo, Randall was obviously an eye candy. In the movie, his character arc involved the audience focusing on how he looked gorgeous rather than focusing on what he was saying. They didn’t care if the world was ending. For them, Randall was the sexiest scientist. With this newfound fame, he even started an affair. The first time he showed signs of not caring about the “right thing” the camera zoomed in on his wedding band as Brie (Cate Blanchett) slid her hand down his inner thigh. 

The story was packed with subtleties. That is apart from the fact that if you blink in the movie, you might miss Chris Evans and Matthew Perry’s cameos. Becoming the sexiest scientist and gaining the attraction of a narcissistic tv presenter, Randall’s confidence was also shown to rise. He stopped being camera shy and in fact thrived in front of it. He was even part of an advertisement for a large technology company named BASH that had found commercial success in the upcoming death. 

BASH and its founder, Peter (Mark Rylance) was a definite caricature of powerful figures like Elon Musk who prefer the term of visionaries or catalysts for human evolution than businessmen. He is the person behind Orlean; his bought president. For him, money is more important than death. Rylance gave an amazing performance that brought literal chills. 

The entire movie was a commentary on how as people we consume information. Science will never be able to inform us about our mistakes better than a pop song sung by trending artists. In the movie, these music artists were played by Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi. 

While the movie was hilarious and completely justified dark comedy while spreading an important message, the character arcs of some characters were very disappointing. This may be completely a fault of having such big names play side characters that the expectations from them was also sky high. Timothée, Cate, Himesh, Ariana and Kid Cudi had barely any character. While they were all there for a significant amount of time, the characters seemed extremely one dimensional. 

McKay is a genius for including so many small elements that overall justified the long wait for the movie. From a scene of police arresting a black man to showing a poster of a shovel costing $599, it showed the condition of the world today to how it is going to be in the future. The subheading “Possibly True Event” was justified. There was even a scene of a white man trying to shoot the comet with a gun. 

By the end of the film, one realises that the title Don’t Look Up is more so to depict the higher authority than to the authority prohibiting the citizens from looking up at the comet. It ridiculed the political nature of our world, the media that focuses more on what is trending as well as oblivious citizens. Many have commented that the movie is but an exaggerated tale that makes all humans stupid so as to sell humour, I believe the movie to be a satire on the most prominent characteristics of human beings. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

The movie was a much-needed round up of 2021. A stellar cast that did not disappoint in performance and message, the only thing that irked me by the end is the short lived character arcs. It is a must watch movie for all the fantastic jokes, chilling performances and subtle genius of McKay.