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Don’t Look Up

Don't Look Up

Don’t Look Up

Synopsis:
Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

Table of Contents

Two astronomers try to warn the world about a comet on route to impact with Earth in Don't Look Up. Kate Dibiasky () is an astronomy grad student, who discovers a comet in the trajectory of Earth. When her professor Dr. Randall Mindy () discovers that the comet is on route to collide with the planet within six months, he and Kate enlist the help of Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe () of NASA's Planetary Defence Coordination Organization to warn President Orlean () about the impending impact. However, when Orlean and her Chief of Staff son Jason () ignore these warnings, Randall and Kate decide to leak the news to the media, including appearing on the talk show The Daily Rip, hosted by Jack Bremmer () and Brie Evantee (Cate Blanchett).

Don't Look Up is a film written and directed by Adam McKay, continuing the director's move into political satire, following 2015's The Big Short and 2018's Vice. Described as a film “based on possibly true events,” Don't Look Up theorizes what might the response be in the current political climate to a truly apocalyptic event. In addition to President Orlean's response to “sit tight and access” the situation involving a comet about to hit the Earth, Kate Dibiasky and Dr. Randall Mindy have to deal with the ambitions of tech billionaire Peter Isherwell (), who doesn't want to waste the trillions worth of rare minerals that the comet is made of.

With a plot not too subtly parallel to how the Donald Trump administration politicized the American response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Don't Look Up is a satire that is entertaining, while also being quite infuriating. The film takes place in a world just like ours, where relationship status pop starlet Riley Bina () is bigger news than a comet that is set to destroy all life on the planet in only a half-year's time. Don't Look Up also tackles gender biases, when it comes to news like this, as Randall Mindy is generally treated with respect by the media, while Kate Dibiasky, after whom the comet is named, is treated like a crazy lunatic, who is more than once dragged away with a bag over her head.

While led by the duo of Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio, the latter of whom has a pretty great freakout scene, Don't Look Up is very much an ensemble film, which features small supporting roles from the likes of , , Melanie Lynskey, and Michael Chiklis. As President Orlean, Meryl Streep gets as close as she can to playing a female version of Donald Trump, who leaves most of the important stuff to her Chief of Staff son Jason, played very smugly by Jonah Hill. Then there is the very odd performance by Mark Rylance as Peter Isherwell, a possibly autistic tech guru, who is pretty much a combination of Steve Jobs and Rylance's character of Halliday from Ready Player One.

Overall, I can say that while I ultimately enjoyed Don't Look Up, chances are you are going to need a stiff drink after watching the film.

Don't Look Up opens on Friday, December 10, 2021 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and is available to stream on Netflix on December 24.


Trailer for Don't Look Up

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This post was proofread by Grammarly 

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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