••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - Film Space
Don’t Look Up (2021)
Dir: Adam McKay
Story David Sirota
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill
Sam Hawksmoor review
This was the one movie I was looking forward to seeing and so was setting myself up for disappointment, I guess. A stellar cast, a great premise in that a PhD student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers there’s a comet 5 miles wide heading directly for Earth and her supervisor Dr Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) calculates the exact time it will hit and destroy Earth. Obviously, they must contact Washington but discover to their horror Washington isn't interested, it’s a career wrecker and President Orlean (Meryl Streep) channelling Sarah Palin really doesn’t care as it will affect her polling for the upcoming Mid-Term elections.
This could have been great. A satire on politics, the environment and how we cannot control events, no matter how we may try. Adam McKay co-wrote 'The Big Short' screenplay so we know he can do biting satire about real subjects. What he can’t do is make a coherent comedy about impending doom.
A whole host of completely expendable characters get in the way Ariana Grande, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, even the vacuous Fox News broadcaster lookalikes on The Daily Rip (Tyler Perry and Cate Blanchette). It was ridiculous, not funny. It would have been more amusing to have our astronomers interviewed on NPR who would take it seriously but no one but me listens to.
It would have been much better to make this a conspiracy thriller, which occasionally they toyed with, but quickly dropped. DiCaprio’s character alludes to many scientists who agree with him that the world’s going to end are being disappeared and locked up, but we don’t see this. In short, it’s mess. And will Hollywood stop hiring Mark Rylance, easily the most overrated actor in cinema. He plays an Internet Billionaire who has commodified ‘mindfulness’ and wants to mine the comet for minerals rather than knock the thing off course. This movie makes ‘Armageddon’ (a Bruce Willis movie with the same theme seem like Oscar material by comparison). It was funnier too.
Above all it was a waste of a good idea. Luckily Jennifer Lawrence gave it her all and was the best thing in the whole movie. *Available to watch on Netflix now
PS Go see 'West Side Story' whilst still on movie theatres. Beautifully shot with great songs.
© Sam Hawksmoor 12.26.21
author of the Space Aventure Mission Longshot