When the cast of Netflix original film Don’t Look Up was first revealed, many wondered how they were going to fit so many A-list actors in a 2hr 30mins movie, but Adam Mckay and David Sirota’s satire was indeed so reflective of society that it felt natural seeing big actors only make cameos.
Two chaotic, emotionally unstable low level astronomers- a professor (Mindy, played by Leonardo Dicaprio) and a PHd student (Kate, played by Jennifer Lawrence) are the first people to discover that a planet-ending comet is headed for earth in relatively significant momentum, and must warn that humans have only 6 months to act if there’s any chance of escaping the impending doomsday.
Seriously, how do you explain to people that you know for sure that in 6 months time, the earth would explode like it’d just been hit by nuclear bomb quarter the circumference of the planet? Attach science, numbers to that, and the bearer of such news is rather perceived to be a mad man.
Don’t Look Up presents many things for viewers to ponder. How would you, your leaders, stakeholders react if this was the case in reality?
There’s been so many movies basing their plot on the way the world would end, although mostly fictitious. However, a comet, according to history has ended the world before, sending several species into extinction, and making such galactic phenomenon high on the list of events that can bring the apocalypse, as acknowledged in Don’t Look Up.
However, despite that knowledge, the president of the US tried to politicise the discovery, teamed up with a greedy, monopolistic businessman to try and exploit the comet, other world leaders didn’t act until they were cut off the deal to benefit from the monetisation of the comet, people made memes of the scientists trying to warn them, celebrity breakup news had more traffic than news of the comet, media houses made jokes of it- really this is the world we live in now.
Humans have never been more apathetic, unkind to the planet and themselves- neglecting important things, constantly living on the edge, wanting to do everything having to face the consequences, living mindlessly; almost only acting to manage damage rather than prevent it.
We’ve already seen with the latest of such global threats- COVID-19- how weak people, our structures, and institutions really are. First it was hard to convince people to wash hands, use face masks, now they won’t take COVID-19 vaccines but they take drugs, eat pasteurized and genetically modified foods.
It is noteworthy how remarkably Don’t Look Up, unlike most apocalypse themed movies perfectly balances melancholy with its comedy. The subtlety of how the story unfolds is remarkable- it doesn’t feel forced, yet profoundly compelling. Not forgetting that Dicaprio, Lawrence, and Streep’s acting are also excellent.
Definitely not bad for a comedy touching on several important subjects, and reminding everyone, sincerely, to do better.