Don’t Look Up is now showing on Netflix.
No sub-genre of films seems to divide audiences more than satire. After all, its purpose is to make us uncomfortable by holding a mirror to our collective behaviours, attitudes, likes and dislikes, asking us to face the sheer ridiculousness of human behaviour and history while making us question the future. The divisive relationship between critics, audiences, and satirical filmmaking are there for all to see. Just look at the reviews of Dr Strangelove, Jojo Rabbit or The Death of Stalin, and you will find an array of opinions ranging from “I loved it” to “I hated every minute of it.” But isn’t that the point of satire? Adam McKay’s new apocalyptic satire, Don’t Look Up, is bound to garner the same mixed reactions, and that’s fine; that’s what satire is all about.
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Let’s start with one fact we can all agree on; the world is pretty fucked up! This may sound overly negative, but let’s look at the past twenty years. In that time, humanity has become slaves to the mobile phone and social chatter we carry around 24. At the same time, the world has become a lonelier place. Meanwhile, politics has disappeared down a rabbit hole of culture wars, soundbites and lies, and our media has become transfixed by the court of public opinion and celebrity. This is a world where we regularly cancel and delete people who we disagree with. while elevating to celebrity status due to a simple dance on TikTok. It’s a world where slogans form political policy, from “Make America Great Again” to “Get BREXIT Done”.
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We all buy into this world and add to its continuation by believing that “this is progress.” Therefore, is it any wonder we can’t find solutions to our biggest problems, from climate change to the growing wealth divide and inequality? In a world of lies, financial inequality, and political turmoil, our ability to work together as one human race is no longer a priority. We build walls and blame others for the faults at the heart of our political regimes. If all this sounds rather bleak, then Don’t Look Up probably isn’t the right film for you because it’s within these very discussions that Adam McKay’s brilliant and cutting satire finds its voice in a star-studded comedy that provides us with a sharp dissection of politics, media, human behaviour and climate denial.
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So I guess you are wondering why I have not provided a synopsis of the film and its story. If you take Deep Impact and Armageddon and place them in a blender with The Social Network and Vice, you have the result. Love it, or hate it, I don’t mind, but watch it and decide for yourselves whether our modern world is one of progress and hope or selfishness, greed and social division. McKay’s movie is bold, daring and intelligent filmmaking that asks you to question the world we have created and the world we want to be; it is satire at its most bold and divisive, and that is something we should all celebrate.
Don't Look Up (2021)
McKay’s movie is bold, daring and intelligent filmmaking that asks you to question the world we have created and the world we want to be; it is satire at its most bold and divisive, and that is something we should all celebrate.