Brief Review: Don’t Look Up
I liked it a lot, which is not surprising as it combines two of my favorite things — astronomy and satire — into one movie, and then also gives me an excellent cast and a pretty good script. I would have liked it more, I suspect, if we weren’t currently living through a pandemic in which a great many Americans believe an actual virus that could kill them is a fake government plot which nevertheless can be counteracted by consuming enormous piles of horse paste, an idea that they were given (or at the very least encouraged in) by their chosen political idols. So the idea that a planet-killing comet could be met with indifference at best and gleeful avarice at the worst is a little on the nose for 2021.
But if you’re going to whistle past the graveyard, at least this film can carry a tune (literally, as Ariana Grande shows up to sing a song about the end of the world). It’s fun to see Leonardo DiCaprio play against type as a socially awkward nebbish of a scientist; Jennifer Lawrence is more in her own wheelhouse as a sarcastic millennial, and is unsurprisingly good at it. Plus there’s Meryl Streep, Streeping it up Streepily as the sort of President of the United States I fear we’re cursed to have more of in these latter days.
It’s all done well, and all more depressingly likely than I prefer. Satire is harder to do than it used to be. That’s not this movie’s fault. It’s ours.