We’re not big panderers in these parts, never feeling the need to cave in to an expressed public desire or messaging – but we’ll confess we softened our position a bit when it came to this week’s ScreenShots pick.
There’s quite a bit of local buzz building about Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up” – both pro and con, as viewers either related to the thinly-disguised characterizations and overt political commentaries wrapped in a neatly subversive satire – or dismissed it outright as merely another product of the liberal Left.
It has been a while since so many readers reacted to a newly released effort (Netflix) and we promised them we’d take a look and we did. We liked this film, finding ourselves laughing or nodding at what we’re sure were expected places in the plot line, not wanting to say more lest we give ammo to the “See? More commie socialist bull puckey”-set who are already busy plotting our demise.
The premise here is that a great big space rock is hurtling towards earth hell-bent on erasing humanity with a small but committed group of scientists and mid-level bureaucrats (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Rob Morgan) embroiled in an increasingly frantic effort to sound the alarm.
The problem? No one is listening, from a delightfully quirky and not long on brains president (Meryl Streep, who must’ve curled her hair with Coke cans for this movie and leapt at the chance to skewer a certain U.S. political figure) to a generally unconcerned and self-absorbed public – more interested in celebrity romances and gaudily-packaged chit chat than potentially world-ending issues of the day.
This is not to say that the gravity of the situation doesn’t finally sink in, with a couple of potentially earth-saving actions surfacing as DeCaprio’s reluctant Dr. Mindy finds himself packaged for the chat shows while Lawrence, his able assistant and comet finder, is trivialized as shrewish, hectoring, and – eventually – mentally disturbed as she continues to try and sound the alarm before seeking the obscurity of life as a liquor store checker for her final days.
If you’re waiting for a heroic Bruce Willis in a spacesuit finish this isn’t the movie for you, as Internet moguls and nation states jockey for leadership of the Save the Planet mission and end up de-railing the effort. While many may enjoy McKay’s biting lampoon of current figures on the World Stage, some may feel that his most obvious targets are already beyond parody, more deserving of pity than a righteous skewering.
Still, Don’t Look Up continues to make its points – depicting our existence in a world where facts are ignored as opinion, 15th Century theories resurface at scientific conferences and conspiracy theorists infiltrate – and gain approval – inside our political system.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Stream it. We predict half of you will love it while the other half will mutter a few well-chosen words about liberal Hollywood and move on to something else.
Why We Liked It: Both funny and sad, observant and sassy, with great performances from DeCaprio and Lawrence and a small army of other A-Listers – some of whom apparently don’t mind taking a pot shot at themselves.
Best Lines: “This sounds very, very exciting. Exploding stars, like stars actually explode. So, how big is this thing? Can it destroy someone’s house? Is that possible?”
Don’t Look Up
Rated R for violence, language and an imminent apocalypse. Running time: 2 hours 18 minutes. Available on Netflix.