Don't Look Up

*****

Reviewed by: Max Blinkhorn

Don't Look Up
"We see the pernicious and warped modern US in all its glory, turning common sense and science on its head and it's hilarious." | Photo: Netflix

This is a film for our time - may be the film of our time - and has several standout roles and a brilliant script by director Adam McKay from a story by David Sirota.

The fear of an asteroid/comet coming our way has been present and growing for thousands of years but lately, it's beginning to sink into most minds that it's possible and a threat to us. In Don't Look Up, when student astronomer Kate Dibiasky, played by Jennifer Lawrence, spots a large comet from the Oort Cloud heading right for us, a monumental tumble of events begins and on the way, we see the pernicious and warped modern US in all its glory, turning common sense and science on its head and it's hilarious. For me, the story arc of this movie is pitch-perfect and very satisfying.

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There are some big names vying for attention but none dominates or unbalances the story; each is playing their part, dark or light, sufficiently and excellently. I liked Cate Blanchett's success-hunting news anchor very much - brutal honesty has charm, while Meryl Streep who might have possessed the story, is a perfect blend of Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. DiCaprio's weary, down at heel astronomer character peaks in a magnificently similar way to Peter Finch's character and Jennifer Lawrence looks natural as a student - she plays down to her real age but says all the things a young PhD would.

Jonah Hill plays the White House chief of staff who you just want to slap and Mark Rylance is the prophet-like, profit-liking, science guru who is obviously Elon Musk but with more "spirituality". Moments that reminded me of Dr Strangelove abound and the effects are pretty good but Don't Look Up is no CGI fest and the characters are front and centre even at the end. Stick with the titles and see the absolute last scene - it's priceless.

Ariane Grande plays herself but under the name "Riley Bina" but you wouldn't know it, singing "We really fucked it up, get your head out your ass" and emphasising it with a key change made me roar!

Of all the versions of stories in this genre, film or otherwise, this must become the definitive screen version even without Ray Harryhausen. It's packed with all the current elements of the story of 2021 and I love it.

The script lays out the complexities of the US and, to an extent, every other western country's mindset in the nicest way and I found it very enlightening. What this leaves me with is that the approach of a real comet might not be managed as well as it ought and I am rather disturbed by that.... but let's just eat, drink and be merry, eh?

Reviewed on: 24 Dec 2021
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Don't Look Up packshot
Two low-level astronomers face a wall of indifference as they go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet earth.

Director: Adam McKay

Writer: Adam McKay, based on a story by David Sirota

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett

Year: 2021

Runtime: 138 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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Streaming on: Netflix


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