Friday, December 17, 2021

Don't Look Up

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Tyler Perry, Cate Blanchett, literally everyone else in Hollywood
Director: Adam McKay
Running Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Rating: R

This film is a metaphor staring you straight in the face. Rather, it's slapping you in the face over and over and over. I can certainly see why it's not a darling of the critics, but I absolutely loved it. I'm not always a fan of Adam McKay's work, but after seeing this (and being reminded that he produces "Succession" and did "Vice") I need to rethink my opinion on him. The film begins with his signature style - notes and text on the screen to inform the audience, and utterly manic camera shots and edits - but after about 20 minutes, that all calms down, thankfully. "Don't Look Up" really moved me. It was a clear commentary on many things our society is facing right now: the pandemic, climate change and political division. McKay does a good job at making it light-hearted at times, but make no mistake, his thoughts on these topics are evident.

My darling Leo plays a character a bit out of the norm for him - Astronomer Dr. Randall Mindy. One of his PhD candidate students, Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers a comet headed directly toward Earth, which will have a catastrophic impact. In fact, it's a planet-killing comet that will arrive in approximately 6 months. Lawrence plays this role well, but it's one I've seen her in before, many times. A meeting with the President, played by the always remarkable Meryl Streep, doesn't seem to help matters. They just laugh this off as another "end of days" myths. Jonah Hill plays the Chief of Staff and his comedic timing is fantastic here.

Dr. Mindy and his team try leaking the story to different media outlets, thinking it's the public's right to know that the end is near. A meeting with the New York Herald goes nowhere, and a brief TV spot on a daytime entertainment news channel does very little (except offer the audience a few electric moments with Tyler Perry and an unrecognizable Cate Blanchett).

There are so many cameos in this film and each do a wonderful job with the specific character and intentions they've been given. The latter half of the film plays up the dark comedy and mirrors what we've been experiencing in the past 21 months. I won't spoil the ending, but unlike many Hollywood movies, there's not a resolution with a pretty little bow on top. This might be my favorite movie I've seen this year - and I've seen a LOT of them - and I encourage you to check it out. Oh, and I forgive the crazy editing and scene changes because Leo makes great eye candy.

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