Jennifer Lawrence. Leonardo DiCaprio. Meryl Streep. Timothee Chalamet. Whether you saw it for the all star cast or the strong social commentary, it’s obvious that Don’t Look Up will be one of the strongest films of 2022.
The film follows a group of scientists as they struggle to wake the world up to a giant comet that will hit Earth and cause apocalyptic damage. Pairing almost quirky, indie-style editing with long shots of nature, Don’t Look Up feels fresh and original. Whether it’s so incredibly orchestrated to feel like that is another story.
You’d think that a cast straining with celebrities would be the furthest thing from a film about grass root, climate rebels. I saw someone talking about how the multi-millionaire actors in the film might be the root cause of the global climate crisis, and how the inactivity of the characters they portray isn’t grossly dissimilar to the actors’ actions in the real world. However, alternatively, the star studded cast drew people to watch it who may not have been otherwise interested in a ‘climate drama’’…admittedly myself included.
While the film’s message seems a little forced at points, it’s so painfully there. And that’s what it’s all about, about how we’ve surpassed the need for fancy words and sugarcoating. People need to see a blunt, brute truth of a climate emergency that’s staring them in the face. Don’t Look Up felt very self conscious, going so far as to have a subplot about a natural disaster film within that isn’t dissimilar to Don’t Look Up itself, almost making fun of itself. It’s obvious, almost too obvious in some places, but the film gets a hard clear message across. It made me so angry.
The modernity of the ‘futuristic’ setting really sold the film for me. They’ve invented a ‘future’ so realistic that I can see it occurring within a 10 year time span. However there are enough differences that you can see what is different to life now. You can see what we could stop.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the future setting as a teenager. The attitudes to phones, meme culture and how big companies exploit social media felt realistic and not just the ridiculous, emoji-ridden presentation that social media often is presented as in Netflix Originals.
Don’t Look Up had almost equal political and environmental commentary. Aside from the climate emergency, it’s a dissection of modern life and ethics. Despite the Trump and Amazon caricatures being almost painfully obvious, it still makes you think. The fabrication of news stories. Prejudice in academic communities. Consumerism. The president answers to this Jeff Bezos-like figure. It tackles the misogyny, racism and classism found throughout all professions in America.
Meryl Streep plays a female president… and one of the most infuriating characters I’ve ever watched. Jennifer Lawrences is an incredibly sympathetic character and you just want to reach through the screen and give her a voice. Despite discovering the comet, Leonardo Di Caprio is taken far more seriously as a scientist while she’s portrayal in the media as a hysterical woman. Could the movie have done more political commentary? Undoubtedly. Considering how big an audience would watch it, it had the potential for giving a massive platform to minorities and the messaging was far subtler than the strong environmental message. The cast is mostly white and the film has been criticised for the near random shots of indigenous culture peppered throughout. Nevertheless, there was political and social commentary and it’s one of the best looks at consumerism and modern ethics I’ve seen since Bo Burnham’s Inside.
Timely. It’s the word that the film almost painfully wants to be associated with, but nevertheless is still true.. This is a timely piece of art that made me so, so angry. It made me cry. It made me scared. It made me think, hard. It‘S crammed full of superb editing and black comedy that makes you snort laugh, think, then start crying.