Co-writer, director Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up will accidentally please establishment-hating Trump fans. Of course, that might sound counter-intuitive considering all the This-is-about-Global-Warming! hype around it. The truth, though, is that (except for a few minutes), Don’t Look Up is such a brutal attack on the media, D.C., Big Tech, the FBI, and the ethically-compromised scientific community, Trump himself could have produced it.
The plot is pretty straightforward. Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is a Midwestern Ph.D. candidate observing the skies who discovers an unknown comet. At first, she’s excited. This is an amazing find, and the comet will be named after her. But during the big celebration that follows, her professor, Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), does the math and discovers the Dibiasky Comet will destroy the planet in about six months.
From here, Kate and Randall, two very smart but down-to-earth people from the rustbelt, attempt to sound the alarm. They start with the White House, then the media, then social media, then raising awareness through celebrities, then, then, then…
The good news is that there’s enough time to save the earth. The bad news is that 1) no one wants to acknowledge this reality, and 2) our media/political/Big Tech/celebrity/science establishment are so compromised and self-involved, nothing happens.
Based on the publicity, I expected 138 minutes of straight-up conservative bashing. I had planned to hate-watch 20 minutes, shut it off, and then cleanse the palate by watching oil workers save the planet in Armageddon.
Don’t Look Up works (for the most part) because it is actually has nothing to do with Global Warming (which is a hoax). The movie’s really about how our American establishment lies and lies and lies… How the media use shiny objects to distract us… How the scientific community sells us out for empty media fame and corporate grants… How the FBI is politically compromised… How Big Tech is run by nerd-sociopaths with too much power…
Honestly, you can watch Don’t Look Up and see it as a metaphor for the exact opposite of the hokum McKay is selling. Every intelligent person knows the establishment is using Global Warming (which is a hoax) as a shiny object to scare us into giving them more power over our lives. Don’t Look Up could just as easily be called Don’t Look at Science’s Dismal Environmental Track Record.
What’s more, it’s just as easy to see the movie as a metaphor for how the establishment has sought to cover up vote fraud, ignore the horror stories behind illegal immigration, and lie to us about countless things that matter: Hunter Biden’s laptop, Benghazi, the lab leak theory, the Russia Collusion Hoax, the failure of COVID lockdowns, the failure of green energy… You can see this $75 million Netflix offering as a metaphor for a corrupt scientific community that tells us it’s unsafe to attend church but perfectly safe to join left-wing protests and flood the country with unvaccinated illegal aliens.
In my eyes, Meryl Streep’s President Orlean is more Obama than Trump. The president’s idiotic, drug-addled son (Jonah Hill) is pure Hunter Biden. Cate Blanchett’s craven morning show co-host is a damning impersonation of Mika Brzezinski. Ariana Grande’s Riley Bina — a mega-star who uses popular causes to make everything about Riley Bina — is every left-wing asshole in Hollywood (including Adam McKay), and Mark Rylance’s fey tech billionaire — a monster who hides his anti-human authoritarianism behind do-gooderism — is, well, name a tech billionaire.
For about ten minutes, Don’t Look Up loses its universal appeal to go directly at Trump, and this is the movie’s weakest part, the part where biting satire turns to smug propaganda. Additionally, Don’t Look Up is a half-hour too long and never all that funny. It’s also not terribly deep — nothing close to a Network (1976) or Dr. Strangelove (1964). You’re basically watching a series of skits.
With a couple of dumb, over-indulgent post-credit scenes, McKay also steps all over what would have been a perfect ending. We really did have it all.
Overall, though, this movie is filled with a healthy contempt and skepticism towards the powerful and is an embrace of traditional values about family and Christian faith, whose heroes hail from Flyover Country.
Don’t Look Up doesn’t touch the greatness of McKay’s Big Short (2015), but it’s a major improvement over his insufferably smug Vice (2018) and worth a look.