IANS Review: ‘Don’t Look Up’: Mirrors the dysfunctional state of politics and media

Mumbai : Director Adam McKay’s ‘Don’t Look Up’ is a sci-fi-based goofy satire that gets uncomfortably real. At its core, it delivers a very sharp treatise on the dysfunctional state of affairs in politics and media, in which everyone is so short-sighted as to be unable to focus on an existential threat.The film begins with a pair of Michigan State astronomers, Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), and his Ph.D. Student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) discovering a huge comet. But the excitement of the discovery soon fizzles out when they realise that the comet’s trajectory leads to a direct collision with Earth in a little over six months, and it will cause an extinction-level event.Understandably alarmed, they rush to the White House to inform President Orlean (Meryl Steep), who along with her son and chief of staff Jason Orlean (Jonah Hill), does not take the duo seriously. The astronomers struggle to get their message across because no one wants to hear bad news. So, they then attempt to break the news of their findings via the media. They appear on the morning news talk show anchored by Jack Bremmer (Tyler Perry) and Brie Evantee (Cate Blanchett), who stand out as self-absorbed TV anchors.

Here they are told to keep things light. When Kate explodes in frustration and tells the hosts that doomsday is near, she becomes a meme.Then there is a tech billionaire Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance), who sees opportunities to cash in on the comet’s natural resources.The premise of the film may sound absurd- if it did not feel so close to reality. The narrative races with a scathing indictment of everything about our media and political ecosystem. It makes you open your eyes at; the erosion of our ability to react in time, to understand that something awful could happen, and it is happening right now.The seriousness of the issue gets thawed with the piling up of celebrities in minor roles with their specific agenda or subplots who basically serve as flashy and somewhat unnecessary window dressing. So, what starts on a serious, hot-dramatic note gradually becomes a lukewarm comedic flawed tale.While Meryl Streep and Jonah Hill act as caricatures, the rest of the entire cast delivers an earnest performance.Overall, the title ‘Don’t Look Up’ aptly implies the Ostrich syndrome, which we humans often indulge.

 

 

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