By: Amanda Guarragi
Once in a while there comes a film that highlights the issues in our society in a very blatant way. With Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, we see a culmination of issues that has resulted in something catastrophic. The sociopolitical satire that is presented in this story affects all of us on a very large scale. It was done in a way that will deeply resonate with audiences because of the emotional, human connection to this planet. The shock value in this particular film is not the meteor about to crash down on Earth; it’s realizing how far gone our society is because of the misuse of social media.
After watching The Big Short and Vice it is safe to say that this is McKay’s most balanced work, when it comes to describing the subject matter in a satirical way. It is not overstuffed with explanations about the subject (like his previous work), where it’s possible to get lost in figuring out what his characters are even discussing. Even though there is scientific jargon used throughout – which was fairly easy to understand – McKay chose to dumb it down in order to explain the importance of this matter to government officials and the media. Majority of the political jokes landed because of Jonah Hill’s perfect comedic timing. The scientific conversations felt very natural when Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence were having those discussions as well.
This can be categorized as a disaster film but it doesn’t feel that way because of how realistic the response is from everyone around the world. McKay centers this film on the reactions from everyone on the political spectrum and settles in on this grey area, as he attempts to objectively balance this script to explore both sides. As a species, we would definitely question the scientists and the government, then judge each other based on which side we are. Does it sound familiar to you? Well it should. Even though this film is directly addressing climate issues and how the government has mishandled the crisis over the past decade, it also reflects how everyone has approached the pandemic.
Don’t Look Up has a great script with an all-star cast who each delivered their lines with urgency on this matter without it being too over-the-top. Yes, you have Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio in this movie, and they were fantastic. There are great moments with Rob Morgan and Timothée Chalamet as well. But, the person who surprised me the most was Jennifer Lawrence. She brought such emotional weight as a scientist first and then as a woman who wasn’t being heard in her field of expertise. McKay, quite effortlessly, also explores gender dynamics through social media and the contrast between how men and women are treated online. McKay incorporated everything he possibly could to create a film that is based on societal norms, technological advancements, and the human connection to our planet.