Review: ‘Don’t Look Up’ All the Makings of a Great Movie (but it wasn’t)

Don’t Look Up was finally released on Netflix on December 24, after an initial limited run in theaters. From the first commercial alone, I was excited to see this film directed by Adam Mckay. With an interesting concept, told through the humorous lens of satire, this movie should have been a slam dunk. Especially when you factor in the incredible cast that brought the film to life. However, while Don’t Look Up has all the parts it needs to make this film a slam dunk, it is far from that.

Warning: Spoilers from Don’t Look Up are Below.

What would you do if you knew the world was ending, but no one would listen? For Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and doctoral student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), this quickly becomes their reality. Kate discovers in the opening moments of the film that a comet is headed straight at Planet Earth with enough power to destroy everything. Together, the duo runs this information about the proverbial flagpole until they meet with the President of the United States, played by the talented Meryl Streep.

This is the moment that the film fell apart for me. Instead of the fate of the world, President Orlean (Streep) is more concerned about re-election chances and public persona after some unfortunate personal issues come to light. The film becomes a big game of gaslighting our two main characters, who are still providing knowledge about the comet to the general population.

There was not a single character in the entire film that felt redeemable. Perhaps this was intentional, reflecting how people are too involved in their own issues to care about the world. However, I was hoping that at least one or two of the characters would be decent people by the end. For example, DiCaprio’s Dr. Mindy who is the voice of this movement continued to make one bad decision after another. His motives during most of the movie were based on sexual desire and “love” rather than science and loyalty to the people who always had his back.

The cast was incredible, with some serious heavy hitters in the film. There wasn’t a moment where the acting was bad or removed me from the overall story. However, there isn’t a single performance that felt better than the rest, which feels odd to say about a movie with DiCaprio, Streep, and Cate Blanchett on the rooster. I was more excited and impressed with the cameos or smaller roles, such as Chris Evans and Ariana Grande, than I was with the principal cast.

Part of what threw me off about this movie was that while I went into it knowing that it was a satire, the film was advertised as heavily humorous. Which isn’t anything close to the truth. There were a few moments in the film that were hilarious, such as Streep’s final scene, but more so than not the film took itself entirely too seriously. Which would have been fine, if everyone else in the film didn’t spend the entire time laughing about the seriousness of the situation. This dynamic was so intense that at times I felt like the film was gaslighting me and not just Dr. Mindy and Kate.

While the film wasn’t my favorite, I am glad that I watched it and the message it was trying to deliver. If people watch this and question how we’ve been handling the environment and our world at large, then perhaps it is worth the two hours. Though if you go into it thinking you’re going to laugh, the only thing you’ll experience is a depressed mood and need to watch something else after. But what do you think, did you like the movie? Or did you feel like it would have been executed better?

My rating for this film:
★★★/ ♥♥
    • Rating scale is out of 5 stars (filmmaking & storytelling) and 5 hearts (love & entertainment)

Don’t Look Up is currently streaming on Netflix.

 

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