‘Don’t Look Up’ review: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence headline a scathing climate-change satire that occasionally veers off course

In essence, writer and director Adam McKay (who wrote the script with journalist/activist David Sirota) offers a very specific thesis on the dysfunctional state of current politics and media, in which everyone is too short-sighted to focus on an existential threat. The title reflects the inevitable end point of that, with the approach of burying your head in the sand to imminent death.
A window into this absurdity comes when astronomy professor Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) earns his Ph.D. Student Kate Dipasky (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers a comet, whose trajectory will lead to a direct collision with Earth in just over six months.

Understandably, their findings are troubling, and soon reach the White House, the president (Meryl Streep, whose character’s silliness hasn’t served her well) is busy choosing the endangered Supreme Court to focus on what Randall describes as an extinction-level event. After a futile back-and-forth, she concludes that they will “tightly sit down and assess” the situation.

From there, “Don’t Look For” springs to the races with a scathing indictment of everything to do with the media and our political ecosystem, from the news show Happy-talk (presented by Tyler Perry and Cate Blanchett, which stands out as particularly self-absorbed by TV presenters). ) to traffic-busy websites and social media memes.

McKay and Sirota offer an instant attack on how easy it is to distract people (especially in the media), focus on Kate’s hair and clothes and ignore the gist of her message.

However, attempts to make this point veer sharply in different directions, from a tech billionaire (Mark Rylance, adopting an out-of-this-world tone) who sees opportunities to take advantage of a comet’s natural resources to Chief of Staff (Jonah Hill), who can only see The threat in terms of how it affects the midterm elections.

However, Don’t Look For It continues to skew, thanks in part to celebrity stacking in secondary roles (watch Timothée Chalamet’s late entry for no particular reason) and follow-up subplots that heighten tension over whether these flawed leaders are. They will find boldness and sobriety in taking action.

DiCaprio (whose activism on climate change has included producing the documentary Ice on Fire) and Lawrence are both very good, but several other names with a bold face mainly serve as glamorous and somewhat unnecessary decorations.
McKay’s “The Big Short” and “Vice” represent its more obvious predecessors to dealing with major corporations in grim satirical fashion, but the film owes its “Dr. Top) stakes. The title certainly does a lot of the heavy lifting, capturing the mainstream response to the news. uncomfortable.

As was evident in her intent, “don’t look” uses sarcasm to prompt a conversation about possibly ignoring a crisis until it’s too late. It’s a sobering message, but it comes headed toward us through the lens of an asymmetric film.

“Don’t Look Up” premieres December 10 in select theaters and December 24 on Netflix. Rated R.


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