DON'T LOOK UP Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad


I thought Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway was the piece of media that so encapsulates the feeling of my generation, but no. Adam McKay had to go and make Don’t Look Up.

I haven’t been this angry at a movie in a while. It’s not McKay’s fault, and it’s not at all a bad thing; Don’t Look Up is so infuriating because it is so inextricably, indisputably correct about what it says about humanity.

Two astronomers, Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) detect the unthinkable in the stars above our planet: a comet that is mathematically certain to collide with Earth. It is larger than Chicxulub, the impact that killed the dinosaurs. It is guaranteed to kill us all. The two succeed in getting an audience with President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep), who, instead of taking the threat seriously, does nothing. She, and all her entourage, do nothing. They are more concerned with scandals and the upcoming midterm elections.

This film constantly reminded me of a quote I am told comes from Quatermass and the Pit, although I’ve never experienced it myself; Matthew Kresal introduced me to it:
"Roney, if we found out earth was doomed - say, by climatic changes - what would we do about it?"

"Nothing. Just go on squabbling as usual."
Media, business, and just about everyone with a modicum of power in this film ignores certain doom until it is far, far too late. Time and again, you will want to strangle the characters on screen, including the President herself, for being the vain fools you know them to be. It’s somewhat funnier than watching the news, but it’s every bit as aggravating.

Don’t Look Up operates according to a sentiment similar to the opening line of the Constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World: “The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.” The common people in this film are portrayed as being generally decent, if often prone to falsehoods (and, we must remember, we are not immune to propaganda). Anyone in government or business is a snake of the highest order, incapable of looking only a few months into the future at the expense of their own bottom line. In any case, it’s a damning look at what love of money does to people, those with it and those without it.

(Yes, ghost of Mark Fisher, I know the people who funded this probably did so as catharsis to stop the people from actually doing anything. I enjoyed it all the same).

Don’t Look Up shouldn’t feel as plausible as it is. It understands so well this crushing feeling of great catastrophe unfurling right before our eyes, and the people with power to do anything refusing to do so. It is a compelling dramatization of the sense that you just don’t have a future. Watch it and weep.

Alexander Wallace is an alternate historian, reader, and writer who moderates the Alternate History Online group on Facebook and the Alternate Timelines Forum on Proboards. He writes regularly for the Sea Lion Press blog and for NeverWas magazine, and also appears regularly on the Alternate History Show with Ben Kearns. He is a member of several alternate history fora under the name 'SpanishSpy.'

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad