By Abigail Mulonas
Netflix’s latest release, “Don’t Look Up,” is a dramedy that lessens the blow of materialistic individuals who command the capitalism of the world, yet it’s not funny enough to be easy-going and not powerful enough to make an impact. Resulting in a lousy form of entertainment, the vast majority of the people watching this film are not the ones who need to take the life lesson away from it, and even then it is a mediocre one that isn’t very impactful.
The movie centers around two low-level astronomers, Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), who go on a media tour to warn the world about an incoming meteor that will destroy Earth.
Joining the cast as President Orlean is Meryl Streep, while Jonah Hill plays her secretary/son Jason. Newscasters Brie Evantee and Jack Bremerton are played by Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry, respectively. The cast is rounded out with smaller appearances from Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Mark Rylance, and Rob Morgan.
Paving the way with a scatterbrained plot, the nonexistent priorities of the story leave a separation between the characters and the audience but not in a good way. There is no angle to feel this – you are neither in anyone’s shoes or living in their situations nor are you watching a play-by-play story unfold with no way to stop it from a distance. Instead, you’re uncomfortably in the middle, sitting impatiently wondering if anything will come that you can feel a connection with.
The film also consists of shaky still shots, unfocused angles and moving pictures at all times. While I am not one to get prissy about the deeper meanings behind the motives of directors, as films are so much more than just the director, it seems Adam McKay has lost his voice in this one.
Once creating a work of art with each delicate screenplay he invented, it feels like this was only made to stay relevant in today’s world of hot-shot directors. Just because you’re capable of casting an extremely excessive amount of A-list actors in one film doesn’t mean you should. Rather than each individual serving a purpose, this is a clear example of just getting people to watch something because of who’s in it, not because of what any one of these actors does.
Lacking the descriptive and cinematic, but specifically dry humor that McKay is known for, this movie does not represent what he, and the talented and acclaimed actors, can do.
“Don’t Look Up” doesn’t feature a decorated cast that performs, though. Alternatively, you feel like you are watching Dicaprio, Lawrence, Streep, and everyone else included play a fabricated and underdeveloped version of themselves, not their character.
However, this has quite an indicative and bold premise that many would shy away from, which arguably is the reason this crashes and burns.
This film succeeds with an untraditional finale, artsy camera work, and a few effective one-liners. While all have the potential to amount to something great they are unaffecting. Hitting the ground running with a hot-take and loud theme, it has to be paired with the nitty gritty and controversial subject matter/characters presenting it – and it wasn’t.
Though harsh, I’m rather being precisely realistic about what everyones not saying about this film: “Don’t Look Up” overestimates its redundant storytelling because it’s filled with a star-studded cast and a hodgepodge of quirky satire – and then labels itself cinema.
Perhaps embodying the very notions it’s trying to exploit, it’s hard to get behind a once intuitive idea when it’s implemented in all the wrong ways.