Now gifted filmmaker Adam McKay (The Big Short) takes all of the events of the past two years and brings them to life in a hilarious way with his new Netflix released comedy Don’t Look Up. The great news is the film works and is one of the funniest films to be released in a long time.
The film begins with a gifted young scientist, Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games), discovering a brand-new asteroid. But after her boss and mentor, Dr Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio – Titanic), does the maths to work out its trajectory they realise that it is heading for Earth – an event that would be catastrophic.
The pair do the right thing and soon find themselves working with NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office head Dr Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan – Stranger Things) but when they take the news to the President of the USA (Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada) and her Chief-Of-Staff (and son), Jason (Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street), they are surprised to find the pair don’t want to know about it and are not prepared to take action on it.
When it is suggested to Kate and Randall that they leak the news to the media they decide to do so on a morning news TV show but once again the hosts, Jack Bremmer (Tyler Perry – Gone Girl) and Brie Evantree (Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth), treat the news like a joke and soon Randall and Kate realise they are going to have to try and convince the world of the danger themselves.
It is an interesting experience watching Don’t Look Up. On the one hand you find yourself laughing out loud repeatedly throughout, but on the other hand you realise the sad nature of the world that we live in has been perfectly captured by McKay as the story at hand plays out through to the end.
McKay’s screenwriting here is nothing less than sensational. The story itself plays out with true suspense and emotion while the comedy of the film also shines through with some truly memorable moments. This film is true comedy gold, but at the same time McKay finds ways to easily disguise his characters so we know who he is referring to without him having to spell it out. It is very easy to see that McKay’s President, brilliantly played by Meryl Streep, is a direct swipe at who President Trump handled the COVID pandemic without him having to spell it out for his audience.
McKay’s cast also embraces the brilliant screenplay and it enhances their performances. DiCaprio is amazing as Randall Mindy and he seems to embrace the opportunity to bring some comedy to his performance. He is a true acting force throughout the film and brings it all together with one of the most emotional cinematic scenes since the finale of Melancholia.
Likewise, Jennifer Lawrence shines throughout the film, delivering true moments of drama as she sensationally portrays a scientist that nobody will listen to. The stars of the film are well-supported by Cate Blanchett who seems to enjoy the opportunity to play a ditzy, over-friendly talk-show host while Meryl Streep is also a stand-out as an uncaring President.
Don’t Look Up is a well-rounded comedy that sees McKay bounce back from some of the duds he has delivered some other years. It probably won’t be, but so well written is this screenplay that it deserves to be mentioned during the awards season. That aside though, this is a fantastic film that captures the past couple of years like no other.
Don’t Look Up is currently screening in Phuket on Netflix.
David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus