“Can’t decide which genre to lean more toward”
DON'T LOOK UP (2021)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
Don’t Look Up left me with mixed emotions - but mainly a rather large bag of confusion. Going in with no knowledge of what you’re about to experience is the best way to go into this film, because it will blindside you at every turn. Loaded with a stunning cast, including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and Jonah Hill, it felt unlike anything any of these Oscar winning/nominated actors have done in the past. However, just because it’s different doesn’t make it soar out of the park. The problem with the film isn’t with the actors, or even the characters, but it’s with Adam McKay’s direction. Coming off the political mind-takedown that was Vice, and prior to that his remarkable look into the house market crash with The Big Short, Don’t Look Up is his first film after he let Ron Burgundy go in The Legend Continues for him to be doing an entirely fictitious story based on what could happen in our political climate. He attempts to meander through small details from all his previous works; it’s almost as though he has lost himself.
The issue is this: it has good characters with DiCaprio’s Randall and Lawrence’s Kate, but it’s the political nature of the subject matter that McKay feels the need to drive home in every other scene which just winds up striking a nerve; that’s coming from someone that’s fed up with the entirety of politics. The disaster elements are strong, the relationships they gain and lose during their trial to make everyone aware of their catastrophic discovery is captivating, but Streep and Hill’s political caricatures weigh the film down. Who lies in the middle however is the talented Mark Rylance taking on a socially awkward, potentially sociopathic tech billionaire. He works particularly well in the role, and alongside all involved he stands out positively.
With a numbing 145 minute runtime, Don’t Look Up is stretched at every instance. This supports strong character development for DiCaprio’s Randall, however at a certain point Lawrence’s Kate is pushed into a distant B-plot, showcasing its confused pacing decisions in the process. Don’t Look Up has a stunning final moment, but it is hindered with a “humorous” credits scene that downgrades the feeling of dread we are meant to feel with unnecessary comedy. If you decide to watch, go in knowing it’s a dramedy that can’t decide which genre to lean more toward, and that is its ultimate downfall.