The Financial Express

Don't Look Up - A slapstick mockery of the capitalistic reality

| Updated: January 04, 2022 20:51:47

Don't Look Up - A slapstick mockery of the capitalistic reality

In Adam McKay's Don't Look Up, there are nearly as many Hollywood titans as there are stars in the galaxy – plus at least one wayward comet. 

To their horror, a low-ranking astronomer professor and a PhD student find that this comet will collide with the earth in six months and 14 days. Another discovery follows for Randall (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate (Jennifer Lawrence). Nobody cares, least of all-- the President of the United States.

Randall, Kate and their lone supporter, scientist Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), have a disastrous meeting. 

President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep) is preoccupied with the forthcoming midterm elections. Her son, White House Chief of Staff Jason (Jonah Hill), would rather receive the bad news from an Ivy League professor.

The news gets out anyhow, resulting in a circus of apathy rather than the expected fear. After appearing on a frivolous television show hosted by Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry), dad-bod Randall becomes an instant sensation. 

Kate, who has a nervous breakdown on the show, becomes the target of vicious memes but gains the admiration of drifter Yule (Timothee Chalamet). Meanwhile, the comet is heading straight for Earth.

The world is divided into two barracks - those who want people to look up and see the fast-approaching comet and those who don't believe in the comet and want people not to look up. On social media, everything happens at breakneck speed.

The ensemble cast's performances bring the characters to life, from Rylance's IT genius to Streep's blazing hot, opportunistic, egotistical president. Jason (Jonah Hill) is hilarious as the President's son and Chief of Staff, and Blanchett is great as the shallow and hard-nosed Brie.

As the plaid-shirt-wearing, pill-popping, worried mind, DiCaprio effortlessly conceals his golden good looks beneath an unfashionable haircut, beard and round spectacles, while Lawrence's Kate, with even-odd hair, is a far cry from moody, take-charge Katniss.

Yule, played by Timothée Chalamet, becomes Kate's fan after seeing all of her meltdown memes. Yule and Kate begin dating after she returns home to Michigan. Himesh Patel plays Kate's smarmy lover Phillip, who is attempting to capitalise on her celebrity image.

From Perlman's arrogant and politically incorrect Drask to Michael Chiklis as Dan Pawketty, a news anchor on a conservative television show, and Liev Schreiber as narrator for Bash, Isherwell's company, the tiny roles are also delivered with grace and elegance.

The allegorical comedy about willful apathy and denial is as thick and evident as climate change, pandemics, financial meltdowns and pretty much any other catastrophe that puts humanity in danger. 

Don't Look Up's scope is also limited by McKay's focus on American politics. The brief mentions of how the issue is playing out in other nations give Indian actor Ishaan Khatter a few seconds of screen time. 

Like many excellent superhero movies, it contains mid and end-credit sequences. The song 'Second Nature,' written by Justin Vernon and Nicholas Britell of Bon Iver, and played over the end credits, sums up the amazement and ridiculousness with the words, "When's that Rapture... will there be merch?" 

If the lights and good cheer are too much for you this holiday season, you should dig your teeth into this scathing satire. 

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