Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio Overcame Don’t Look Up’s Angry Message

Having experienced disasters in the past — the 2008 financial crisis and the bloody reign of Dick Cheney-manager Adam McKay has turned his attention to a current disaster. Don’t look up (in theaters December 10, Netflix December 17) is an allegory about climate change, a man-made mess that the men themselves can’t seem to deny. The film is a long, bombastic satire of government sloppiness and inconsistency; about media complicity in allowing it to become the political norm; and about a common American ethos that refuses to recognize the rushing waters beneath our feet, the flames ripping through the homes of our neighbors, for what they are.

On topic, it’s absolutely essential. Had a curious love of films with in-depth content about climate change, so McKay’s intentions were lofty. But as he did with The Big Short and Evil behavior, Lacquer McKay Don’t look up with an impenetrable layer of complacency. Any worthy message the film delivers is drowned out by a parade of movie stars and old pop culture jokes.

The hard part about satire is that it’s really hard. Rotating skewers must be surgically precise to work, and precision is not a regime McKay seems to be able to do.

Most things gag in Don’t look up is misleading to an important degree. The cable TV morning talk show presented in the movie is not quite Fox and friends, not necessarily Morning Joe, and definitely not To watch—It’s somewhere in the middle of sentimentality, making the joke sound lame instead of stinging. There’s a famous pop star in the movie, who sings a song full of hokey, raunchy lyrics meant to signify the toxic, enduring phenomenon of celebrity emptiness. But to play the role, McKay hired Ariana Grande, a pop star sometimes described as creative emissary. We didn’t hear what we had to do, because the movie was too busy casting stunts.

What the pop star is singing about is a giant comet slamming toward Earth, while stubborn ninjas in Washington try to eliminate the disaster or, later, make money from it. The masses will not accept what is happening, even if trusted and certified scientists will cry from the mountaintops that they must have died. It’s easy to see the metaphor here, although there’s a problem with the design. A comet strike is a random event born of the chaos of the universe – unlike climate change, which has clear causality. (Specifically us). Don’t look upGod’s action makes us not ashamed, let’s blame it on wisdom.

Much of the film’s time is spent trying to resolve that imbalance: the problem isn’t the comet itself, but the late efforts to prevent it. I suppose the joke is that even if something isn’t our fault, we wouldn’t accept any tactics that might exist to prevent it from happening. But there is less guiding value in that observation than McKay seems to think there is. His film doesn’t need to offer some action strategy to combat climate apathy, but it could be bolder or more nuanced in targeting that indifference. Simply mocking pop stars and experts and Trumpism is easy and ineffective, as is a parody or polemic.

Where Don’t look up finds its strength in its key performances, which can’t be undone even if the movie is grueling, editing is quick, and McKay’s aggressiveness dictates for its own punchlines. he. As two scientists who discovered comets, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio Easily convey alarm and frustration, maintaining the underlying humanity of their characters even as the film takes them deeper into the absurd. The rest of the star-studded cast — including cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet, Jonah Hill, Rob Morgan, Tyler Perry, Mark Rylance, and Meryl Streep—Doing their best, but it’s hard to do much with McKay’s flimsy creations. These talented actors are forced to play a joke rather than any truth.

The truth is pretty grim, something Don’t look up finally admits towards the end, when it slows down to go backwards and considers it inevitable. Perhaps the film’s most chilling satire is about Rylance’s character, a quirky, boastful tech billionaire whom the US government has moved in to solve their problems. This is a clever reflection of our own increasingly sinister reliance on overly powerful technologists, even as Rylance seems to be stuck in a messy situation. Of course, the captain of the mega-industry had no solution, a realization that came to Streep’s predictable MAGA-esque president all too late.

Here, the film allows itself to be somber, contemplative and dark, feeling like something of a respite from the rest of its frenetic energy. Don’t look up is most convincing in this tone, as it removes all wigs and dentures and just speaks straight to us. That’s where the movie’s catharsis lies – not to dampen laughter, but in the most glaring reality.

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