Don’t Look Up: or, just don’t watch.

Don’t Look Up is the most recent hit from Netflix and is the newest film from Adam McKay (The Big Short, Anchorman) also having written, produced and directed the sci-fi comedy.

IMDb describes the film to be Two low-level astronomers [must] go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.” 

I had high hopes for this going in. Two Oscar winners, a good premise and a star-studded cast…  

Okay, I’m lying.  

For a cast with eight Oscars between them and a slew of nominations, I’m not really sure what to say.  

I like to give films the benefit of the doubt. Leonardo DiCaprio (Dr. Randall Mindy) is arguably the highlight of the film, with Rob Morgan (Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe) not too far behind.

DiCaprio gives a consistently earth-shattering performance, seemingly being the only linear thing in the entire story, with tonal changes left and right and poor sound design – if this was intentional, I’d be ashamed.  

Leo radiates years of experience and maintains his position as one of, if not the best of his generation. He makes his characters intentions and emotions a clear constant throughout and has the only meaningful character development amongst the cast, with DiCaprio belonging to the 1% that doesn’t jump from ‘AHHHHH, a comet’ to ‘oh well, guess we’re going to die’. His character, Dr Mindy, destroys his marriage and loses everything he had gained at the monumental height of his career only to realize moments before impact that he already had exactly what he needed.  

It could have been much more powerful if the film hadn’t seemingly forgotten DiCaprio’s debilitating anxiety and wife halfway through the film though.  

Jennifer Laurence’s Kate Dibiasky finds love in Hollywood’s sweetheart Timothee Chamalet at the end of the world caused by a meteor carrying her name. In all honestly, this is one of the only performances of his that I adore. He’s a wildcard when it was needed most, and it couldn’t have been executed by the actor better.  

A lot of things happening on screen just aren’t made clear at all to the viewer and it becomes very easy to get lost in quick cuts and nonsense – a mismatched fever dream only akin to taking acid before going on a ride at Thorpe Park.  

For one, Jonah Hill (Jason Orlean) plays a toned-down version of his character in The Wolf of Wall Street, Donnie Azoff. His potential is completely wasted in a character that could have been easily taken by a Discovery Channel B-Movie star (which although is meant as an insult, are possibly some of my favourite movies – check out Panman if you’ve got the time).  

That’s not down to Jonah at all, I believe Adam McKay has just taken one too many Xanax as they mention all too much in the film, because somehow the film has lost all emotion.  

Consistency is key, and for some reason that consistency just doesn’t exist. The film drags along to its finale through its nearly two-and-a-half-hour runtime, ending with nudity and the payoff to a joke no one asked for, or needed.  

If I wanted to see half the cast nude, I’m sure I could have just done a quick Google search.  

I have watched this film twice now, and I still can’t remember much of the film writing this directly after watching. 

Adam, I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. 

You can watch the trailer for Don’t Look Up below: 

Dylan Ramsay

Journalist

Proud Guardian reader, avid film fan and Star Wars aficionado. I make films in my spare time, and you’ll always catch me listening to music. 

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