Don’t Look Up
Two astronomers discover a massive comet heading towards Earth. The comet will wipe out humanity in six months if nothing is done about it. They manage to gain an audience with the US President, land on TV talk shows and have their story printed in the media, but everyone seems to have other priorities.
On the surface a disaster movie in the vein of Armageddon or Deep Impact. However, it is not just that and is far better than that.
Written and directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, The Other Guys, Anchorman), Don’t Look Up is a funny, accurate examination of the warped priorities and agendas of the people who have the most considerable control over our lives. Politicians care more about how something will impact their polling numbers than saving humanity, and the media cares more about finding something slanderous on a person than alerting people to imminent destruction. Talk shows care more about sensationalism, the personal lives of vapid pop stars, and putting on a happy face than on news that matters to people. These corporate opportunists use even a planet-destroying disaster to make a profit and, in so doing, increase the danger (and how the politicians fall in line behind them).
It is all quite chillingly accurate and plausible. From experience, you can relate to these institutions and individuals’ misguided, self-absorbed agendas and the powerlessness and irritation you feel in having to deal with them and their decisions.
It is so close to home that it sometimes makes the film irritating to watch: you’d instead not be reminded how incompetent, superficial, self-servicing, and nefarious the government, media, etc. are, how they screw up your life regularly and how likely it is that they will eventually wipe out humanity.
All this makes for a film that is one part hilariously funny and another part scarily serious and confronting. However, unlike some other movies, I did not find this comedy and drama jarring mix. Instead, the humor helps point out the absurdity of it all.
By the way, keep watching until the very end. There are two scenes woven into/after the credits worth sticking around for.