Dan Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Can we just call it a potentially significant event?”
Certainly a very heavy handed satire, but one that managed to keep me entertained throughout it’s runtime. I can see why it is has become so divisive already, it’s a very McKay movie, or at least in the same vein as his last couple of movies albeit with a bit more of a comedic slant to it.
The cast are certainly the best part of the movie, with just about everyone giving a great and fun performance that elevates a script that at times can be rather weak. The film does struggle at keeping its focus. There’s a lot of great elements at play but sometimes it feels like a little too much is trying to be said at once. It pushes itself to try and satirise maybe a little too much, and with a script that fires shots at everyone and anyone, it can get a little bloated and full of itself. Though, the comedic elements mostly worked for me, there was still a few misses here and there with the dialogue.
DiCaprio and Lawrence are both great, two scientist being flung into this crazy world of politics and media when all they want to do is stop the major event happening. DiCaprio especially excels at being his anxious and out of his depth character who is suddenly liked by the media and the people. It’s a fun role, and I wish they’d pushed him even further into this madness of showboating and ideology.
Jonah Hill is wonderfully funny in his smaller moments, alongside a fun but brief appearance from
Timothee Chalamet. Kate Blanchett and Tyler Perry make nice appearances, their characters very much on the nose but comedic. I’m not sure Meryl Streep was the right fit for her character, but she does her best with a rather underwritten and predictable role. The only aspect of the cast I didn’t like was Mark Rylance, who really didn’t fit into the narrative at all that well, and his character, again being underwritten, comes across as even too pantomime and over the top, even for a film like this.
McKay certainly uses more style over substance with his directing, but I thought it worked here. There’s some great moments in the first half with the scientists being dropped in at the deep end, with quick cuts and strange editing that really added to that anxiety that characters felt. It always feels like it’s swift and well paced, that honestly, the long run time didn’t feel that much to me. There’s enough entertainment here that I found myself wrapped up and along for the ride.
A fun movie, despite it’s heavy handed nature dealing with it’s satire. A good amount of comedy and interesting story that while not one of my favourites of the year, still mostly worked for me.